The comeback is on. Across the globe, health clubs of all sizes and types are reopening, but the entire industry is in the same position. It needs to meet two fundamental challenges: to prioritize member safety against virus exposure and to diversify services, especially in the digital category.
That doesn’t mean every club has the same needs. Some facilities are light on maintenance staff and need to increase in-house cleaning staff and sanitizing tools. Some clubs have a well-developed digital training platform; others have to up their virtual workout game. In the end, every club operator has a unique set of tasks they have to fulfill to get their business back on track.
IHRSA’s been on the front lines of organizing these new guidelines. A good place to start is the “Four-pronged Framework to Health Club Reopening.” These four stages include:
- 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
- Implementing enhanced, evidence-based cleaning and sanitation practices.
While the U.S. has no uniform guidelines to screen the public before entering public buildings, some states have issued specific rules regarding masks, temperature checks, social distancing, etc. You need to understand the specific regulations in your area. For instance, some states limit entry for travelers from other designated states, others don’t.
Since part of your job is putting your members at ease, you may want to see what high-profile retailers are doing to mitigate against exposure in their brick-and-mortar stores. Apple, for instance, announced guidelines for their stores, which include mandatory masks, limiting occupancy, and temperature checks for employees and patrons.
Keep in mind that once a standard for safety is established in the minds of consumers, you risk harming the perception of your brand if you don’t meet that standard.
The big picture remains the same: Clubs have to cope with new guidelines and re-evaluate their business plan at the same time. It’s a challenge—but it’s also an opportunity. Don’t waste it.