Checklist for reopening your gym after coronavirus lockdown is lifted

By Parisa Hashempour

Published 15 July 2020

After a long hiatus, it’s time to lace up your trainers, switch on the lights, and open up those big doors to your gym, club or studio. Reopening is an exciting prospect for the entire industry, but the reality is that we’re still living under a global pandemic.

This means that in order to keep you and your members safe, you need to take some precautions. 

Creating a hygienic, safe and pandemic-proof space in your facility will:

  • Improve member’s confidence in your business – driving them back in
  • Ensure that you can continue to remain open and operating
  • Most importantly: keep you and your members safe and healthy

In order to ensure that members regain confidence and feel comfortable working out with you, you need to make sure your new hygiene policy is visible for members to see. 

How to maintain hygiene precautions upon reopening

If members can see the precautions and measures you are taking, they’ll come back quicker, spend more time and money with you, and via word of mouth marketing, will encourage new members to spend time in your facility.

The following hygiene precautions should be followed in order to promote a sense of security within your facility.

1. Ensure your staff lead by example

Your floor staff are the representatives of your business. If they are sticking to government guidelines and taking precautions to be safe, your members will see this and respond accordingly.

Not only will they copy the example set by your staff, but they’ll also have the impression that you are going above and beyond to ensure that their safety needs are met.

Actions staff should take to ensure that safety rules are followed:

  • All staff should have gloves and masks
  • Staff should be assigned regular cleaning duties
  • Cleaning logs should be used to ensure staff cleaning duties are carried out
  • Staff should undergo daily health checks when they arrive at work

2. Let members know, hygiene is their responsibility too

It’s important to let members know that they should take care to maintain hygiene rules. This message should be pushed out to members before reopening and reiterated when they come into your facility.

You can do this via push notifications within your Virtuagym app. Or you can use a tile within your app to display your new hygiene measures.

Members should be informed that where possible, gloves and masks should be worn. In addition to this, encourage them to:

  • Maintain the recommended social distance
  • Encourage members to bring their own hygiene kits
  • Clean down machines using the cleaning materials stationed around the gym
  • Undergo a health check before entering the facility
  • Cancel any classes or training sessions if they show any symptoms of the virus

3. Reduce the number of contact surfaces

One of the reasons that it is so hard to maintain a safe environment within a gym, club or studio is because there are so many shared surfaces. These objects are breeding grounds for viruses and if not regularly cleaned, could cause your facility to become a hotspot of contagion.

In order to limit the spread of the virus, it is important to reduce the number of shared surfaces that staff and members come into contact with.

In order to do this you should install contactless dispensers as well as contactless access points. With your Virtuagym app, members can log in using a QR or RFID card – that means there is no need for turnstiles or other high-contact methods of entry.

Check this helpdoc to read more about how to install a RFID reader.

It’s also important to remove any non-essential items that members will touch. This means uninstalling things like vending machines.

4. Keep the facility sterile

If your facility and the surfaces, and gym equipment within it are kept sterile, it will be harder for the virus to spread. It is crucial that hand sanitizer is available throughout the entire facility. Make sure that staff regularly use it. You should also ensure that members use it when they enter.

Again, it’s important to reiterate that staff should routinely sterilize the equipment and gym machines using high-strength cleaning products. Create a schedule in which you can tick off what items have been sanitized.

Scheduled checks should occur at least every hour the facility is open, but spot checks should take place more frequently.

Your cleaning checklists for the locker rooms should include items such as:

  • All countertops and benche
  • Sinks and faucets
  • Soap dispensers and hand dryers
  • Mirrors, walls, external sides of stalls, doors
  • Toilets, inside stalls
  • Lockers (internal and external)
  • Shelves
  • Floors
  • Paper towel dispensers
  • Hand sanitizers and disinfectant spray bottles
  • Trash Cans

Your cleaning checklists for the gym floor should include items such as:

  • Staff computers, phones, accessories
  • Knobs, switches, doors
  • Walls, countertops
  • Glass, windows, mirrors
  • Cardio equipment
  • Weight machines

5. Social distancing should always be maintained

We know you’ve heard it a hundred times, but we’ll say it again – social distancing is the new normal. In order to maintain the health of your club, staff and members, it’s a policy you’re going to have to champion.

In order to make sure that you social distance policy is effective, you should undertake the following changes to your facility:

  • Each station or machine should have 6 – 10ft of empty space in each direction 
  • Members should schedule their arrival through a booking system, like the one available in your Virtuagym app
  • Staff should respect social distancing when interacting with members and when conducting classes

Duct tape or paint can be used on the ground to mark out the appropriate social distance that members should maintain. Posters on the walls, particularly in changing rooms are an effective reminder to members that they should be maintaining the correct social distance. This is a new lifestyle for all of us – and often people will need a small nudge.

6. Go digital where possible

Remember that operating under new government regulations and at a safe social distance is still business as usual. Members can enquire about products and services while maintaining a respectful distance. Ensure that you have a strong social media presence and encourage members to interact with you outside of the gym, studio or club itself.

Encourage members to book online, make enquiries over the phone and only come into the facility when they are actively using your services. Encourage members to use your in-app digital community to connect with one another, rather than hang out together in the facility after working out as they usually would do.

You could also encourage members to workout more often at home – this doesn’t have to mean losing their business. Stronger Together, the new offering from Virtuagym, means you can make money from memberships, even while members are working out outside your facility. Learn more about it here. 

Parisa Hashempour

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