Through Video, Health Clubs Show How They’re Safely Reopening

Health clubs are using video to show members how they are cleaning their facilities and to give them a glimpse of what it will be like when they return to the club.

Though the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic may be far from over, many states have given health clubs across the U.S. the green light to open their facilities, and other states are not far behind. In most places, reopening will require new safety and cleaning protocols outlined by local and state authorities, and some clubs may opt to take those measures to the next level.

We talked to IHRSA clubs in the U.S. that are using video as a primary method to communicate their cleaning methods to members. We learned some ways they are going above and beyond to keep their staff, members, and community safe while they return to their fitness routines. Almost every club we heard from was limiting group X participation, restricting or eliminating towel and locker room service, and strongly encouraging members to wear masks, even in states that have not mandated mask usage.

Here are some examples of the informative videos clubs created to communicate their enhanced safety and cleaning procedures to their members.

Safety Starts at the Front Desk

In a video called “Safety: This is How We Roll at Rock Solid Fitness in Dunedin,” Patty Durrell, CEO of Rock Solid Fitness in Dunedin, FL gives a tour of her club starting at the front door. At the front desk she is offered hand sanitizer and asked pre-screening questions like, “Have you traveled outside the US or been on a cruise in the last 14 days?” Durrell explains that all members will have temperature checks at the front desk and, while they are not required to wear masks, masks will be available at the front desk should they need one. Staff will wear masks. For Rock Solid Fitness members who still feel more comfortable staying home, they can stay fit with virtual training appointments.

Club Staff is Essential to Compliance

Little Rock Athletic Clubs CEO and IHRSA board member Frank Lawrence gives a detailed “welcome home” to his members in “Phase 1 at The Athletic Clubs.” Lawrence goes over the procedures the club has implemented during phase 1 of their reopening, as they pertain to billing, screening, cleaning, and spacing.

Little Rock Athletic Clubs (LRAC) have taken extra measures to keep their community safe, including implementing a new Health Guard team. Health Guards will be available to educate and help members understand and follow new cleaning protocols. LRAC’s social distancing rules go above and beyond the CDC recommended 6 feet—12x12 square feet of space will be allowed for each member to ensure a safe, comfortable workout. In addition, 50% of cardio equipment will be out of service and group X classes will be limited to nine members and one instructor. Members who are unable to get into their desired group X classes can workout with live streaming and archived virtual workouts.

Reconfiguring the Club for Social Distancing

In “Reopening Plans: Social Distancing of Cardio & Weight Equipment,” Kevin McHugh, CEO of The Atlantic Club, in Manasquan, NJ showcases three new fitness studios built to accommodate equipment distancing and full access to unrestricted workouts. The Atlantic Club doubled their cardio space and replaced their previous free weight area with a spacious Technogym strength and selectorized studio. The new free weight studio, which has been moved to their field house, offers the largest layout of functional equipment in the state. A second video from The Atlantic Club, “Tennis Center Reopening: Safety Protocols,” details payment options (credit card, house card, and pre-paid packages only), sanitizing procedures, and staff protocols like daily temperature checks.

Strict Sanitation in High-touch Areas

Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness, with clubs in CT, MA, NY, NC, and RI, let members know what to expect in their video, “We’re Preparing for Your Return!” Healthtrax locations will follow stringent sanitation protocol for proper disinfection, operation, and maintenance. Clubs will use electrostatic sprayers throughout the day on high touch areas using an EPA-registered virus cleaning disinfectant to make sure the facility and equipment are thoroughly disinfected. Multi-touch amenities such as water fountains and phone charging stations have been removed or made unavailable, and additional self cleaning, hand sanitizing, and equipment disinfecting stations have been added around the club.

Time-lapse Shows Thorough Cleaning Process

Raintree Athletic Club Fort Collins, CO posted a time-lapse video, “Ever wonder what happens between classes?” This video shows a studio being sanitized in 45 minutes after a Body PUMP class.

Club Shows Safety Measures Members Can Expect

Resolution Fitness in Atlanta, GA posted a “Welcome Back!” video that starts with a tour of the facility from the point of view of a member. The video shows that members will have their temperature taken on arrival, and highlights enhanced cleaning procedures including disinfectant spray in each shower and a detailed cleaning of high touch points and equipment every hour.

Whether you choose to follow mandated guidelines to the letter, or go above and beyond with extra space, limited classes, and enhanced sanitation measures, the reality is all clubs will need to make some potentially significant adjustments in order to keep clubs a safe place for members. With a well-planned strategy and clear communication, your club can continue to grow in the “new normal.”

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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.