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Give Your Health Club a ‘Safety-First’ Reputation

It’s time to be a leader in creating the ideal setting for the current moment.

In the midst of ongoing uncertainty about the COVID-19 crisis, let’s look at some good news for the health club industry. A landmark study appeared out of Norway that showed that health clubs are not an environment that present an elevated risk of exposure to the virus compared to other public locations.

According to IHRSA’s report on the study: “While more research is needed, this study provides some evidence that the social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation policies implemented at fitness centers that have been allowed to open are effective. Thus, gyms may pose little to no additional risk for COVID-19 transmission compared to other public places.”

Other data reported by IHRSA indicates that gymgoers are eager to return to health clubs. According to research from MXM, in a survey of 150,000 members, “65.7% indicated that they would likely rejoin their health & fitness facility.” Other countries cite similar responses in surveys, with, for example, 66% of health club consumers in Poland and 88% of clubgoers in Spain saying that they plan to return to gyms after the all-clear from authorities.

With gyms reopening around the country, it’s important for health club operators to maintain a consistent and calming message to their members. Until a vaccine emerges, spikes in COVID-19 outbreaks will appear from time to time in certain regions. But even with so much uncertainty on a wider scale, club owners control their own environment, and they must convince the public that they’re doing what’s necessary to keep them safe.

You also need to keep your employees as safe as possible. A strong argument can be made that health club staff are essential employees who help provide a necessary service to the public. Research has shown that exercise may help prevent deadly complications from COVID-19, according to the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Clearly part of the mission for today’s health club owner is to ensure the safety of these valuable staff members, maintenance workers, personal trainers, and coaches who help keep people healthy and safe.

Having the Tools You Need When You Need Them

Facilities Fit Nation Promos woman front desk column

Knowing that your members miss their workouts and are enthusiastic about returning is good news, but offers no guarantees. Clubs have to be able to manage the anxiety of their returning members. This means having mitigation measures in place and communicating to your customers that you’re putting their safety first.

IHRSA has created a four-pronged framework to reopening health clubs. It includes:

  • Minimizing COVID-19 exposure by implementing appropriate screening measures.
  • Minimizing the risk of spread through mitigation measures.
  • Recognizing everyone’s role in minimizing risk through education and encouraging all members and staff to take all the actions possible to avoid spreading the virus.
  • Minimizing exposure risk by implementing enhanced, evidence-based cleaning, and sanitation practices.

Every club is different and local authorities will often have the final say on the extent of physical distancing measures and mask requirements. Each club operator needs to determine the supply and management of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for different operations. Every health club operator has to be prepared, and that means having the necessary supply of masks; no-contact thermometers; hand sanitizers and surface cleansers; disposable wipes; and face shields and protective barriers.

Those are the more obvious tools you need for the pandemic. But you may also need surface grip circles that guide members to maintain adequate social distancing. You also may want specially made door-handle protectors for members who may be squeamish about making contact with high-touch surfaces.

What’s just as important as putting these safety tools in place is communicating your efforts to your members. One way to do that is by branding these masks and other products. This associates your health club brand with a safety-first approach.

Finally, you want to get your high-quality PPE items from a single source you can trust instead of relying on several suppliers for your needs. Fortunately, one company has you covered.

Your One-stop Shop for Branded PPE and Other Essential Tools

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FitNationPromos is that single resource you need to order all the supplies you need for a successful reopening. Specializing in branded equipment, accessories, and PPE products, FitNationPromos has extensive inventories of masks, sanitizers, cleaning agents, thermometers, social distancing tools—everything you need to help keep your members safe while communicating that your club cares.

While the company supplies other gym essentials for health clubs during normal times, FitNationPromos has increased their PPE supply with dozens of products that they keep in abundant stock. These include:

  • Goggles/gloves/shield
  • Masks (blank or imprinted)
  • PPE apparel
  • PPE barriers
  • PPE kits
  • Sanitizers and surface cleaners
  • Social distancing tools
  • Thermometers

Their current bestsellers include:

  • 2 oz. bottle of hand gel sanitizer (branded)
  • 40" x 32" protective acrylic barrier
  • 12" indoor surface grip circle (set of 6)
  • disposable powder-free nitrile gloves

This gives you an idea of the wide range of options in each category of PPE products for health clubs. FitNationPromos offers special pricing for bulk orders and will happily supply you with quotes for your particular situation.

Access FitNationPromos’ catalog of products on their website. You can contact them via email or phone (866-Promo-Help or 866-776-6634).

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org