Beyond the shutdowns and difficulties in ramping up through fits-and-starts reopenings, COVID-19 has created a long-tail effect for every club. Certain changes will likely be with us on a permanent basis.
“Cleaning protocols will never be the same. The practice of filling spaces with as much equipment as possible to the point of overcrowding will be a thing of the past,” stated Interim CEO and President Brent Darden in a recent CBI interview. “Scheduling of services—classes, group training, childcare, courts, etc.—will be part of most clubs’ systems.”
In short, we all know you haven’t been able to simply turn on the lights and let members come back in. Several physical changes must first take place. Complicating reopening has been a lack of any centralized planning or guidelines. Each state has its own regulations, and, in many cases, those can differ by municipality. In addition, we’ve had to deal with surges that have caused reclosings, as illustrated by this The New York Times running log.
Clearly, it’s a tricky landscape to navigate. While facility design needs to take key issues, such as social distancing and optimized sanitation, into account, the related needs represent a greater breadth and depth of challenges that may not be immediately evident.