Photos Show How Health Clubs Are Encouraging Social Distancing

IHRSA health clubs are coming up with solutions to help enforce social distancing protocols, from equipment screens to custom signage.

The term “social distancing” became familiar at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and has likely become a permanent part of the global lexicon. But what does social distancing mean for health clubs, specifically?

“Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to keep potentially infectious people from coming into contact with healthy, uninfected people,” IHRSA’s Alexandra Black Larcom wrote in a recent article. “It is a key part of a mitigation strategy to slow the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, through communities to protect high-risk populations and prevent (or contain) surges in illness that could overwhelm the healthcare system. Current recommendations around COVID-19 and social distancing include keeping at least 6 feet (2 meters) separation between people when out in public, and wearing a cloth face covering when other social distancing measures are harder to maintain.”

As clubs begin to reopen, finding ways to effectively communicate and enforce new social distancing protocols will take planning, trial and error, and a bit of creativity. We reached out to IHRSA clubs that have already reopened or are in the process of setting up their new equipment layouts, traffic flow patterns, and clear social distancing signage.

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InsideOut Gym Uses Outdoor Space

InsideOut Gym in Memphis, TN, is in an 8,500-square-foot building with just under 400 members, which has allowed InsideOut to have the space to reopen safely. Additionally, they have a large outdoor area and are able to offer classes outside, including Zumba, TRX, and even spin and rowing as their machines have wheels for easy transportation to the outside.

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Fit Factory Creates Custom Signage

Fit Factory, a full-service health club with locations in Massachusetts and Texas, has dedicated a task force to implementing new safety measures as their locations begin to reopen. Their locations will feature custom signage to encourage proper social distancing and safe traffic flow. Fit Factory’s two Texas locations have been permitted to reopen as of May 18, though they’ve opted to delay a week to ensure the club and staff are well-prepared. Fit Factory’s Massachusetts locations are working diligently to have the clubs ready when the state permits.

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Pure International Group Constructs Equipment Screens

Pure International Group, with 30-plus locations across South Asia, was one of the first club companies to close, then to reopen, then close again in some locations. In many of their clubs, they’ve constructed cardio equipment screens between each piece of machinery. This allows a safe workout space while minimizing the loss of valuable real estate.

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Active Wellness Sells Reopening Signage Package

Active Wellness, which operates clubs in 12 states, has developed a Reopening Signage Package available to purchase on their website. The package includes posters, floor vinyls, distancing tape, and mirror clings for all areas of a health club.

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Cedardale Health & Fitness Spaces Out Equipment

Cedardale Health & Fitness in Haverhill, MA is no stranger to overcoming hardship. After recovering from a devastating fire in 2017, the resilient crew finds itself rebuilding again. As they await permission from the state to reopen, they are planning and preparing social distancing guidelines.

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Catic Wellness Group’s Enhanced Welcome Desk

As of early May, all 53 Catic Wellness Group locations across China were reopened and reporting up to 75% visitation, the company's Director of Fitness Operations Walter MacDonald reported in a recent webinar. One of the key locations for social distancing is at the check in area. Catic Wellness Group club check in areas have handheld thermometer guns, sanitizing and disinfecting products, and masks and gloves for staff who stand behind a table to ensure a safe distance. Many locations have also installed barriers between cardio equipment.

Share with us how your club is enforcing social distancing requirements or join us on the IHRSA Forum where other fitness business owners like you are discussing reopening protocols, cleaning procedures, limits to group X classes, and more!

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Carolynn Jordan

Carolynn Jordan previously served as IHRSA's Member Communication Specialist—a position that developed outreach for IHRSA members to gain knowledge on how to best use their benefits and stay engaged in the IHRSA community.