COVID-19 has changed our lives—and the way we exercise.
While 2020 was a year for testing the waters and seeing how to effectively run a gym during a pandemic, 2021 is a year for implementing the successes and leaving the measures that have failed behind.
Paired with a robust gym management software platform, you can prepare your gym for COVID in 2021 by following the tips below.
After you’ve followed along, contact Exercise.com to set up your gym management software platform.
COVID-19 January Safety Measures for Gyms
So, what are some of the safety measures for gyms during the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to research from the American Physiological Society, Americans are now making exercise a priority. The number of Americans who reach the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week increased by almost eight percent during the pandemic—the number of people who exceed that target increased by over ten percent.
What does this mean for gym owners? America’s newfound interest in exercise combined with the usual New Year’s resolutioners means that you could be facing the busiest January you’ve ever had.
Pair that with new COVID restrictions, and you’ve got a situation that needs to be very carefully managed.
So, what are some of the safety measures for gyms during the COVID-19 pandemic? From updating policies, identifying the safest disinfectants, and prioritizing virtual classes, we’re sharing how to run your gym during COVID in 2021.
For a look back at 2020 COVID measures, and for an email template you can send to members if you do need to close your doors again, check out our article, Coronavirus: Gym Risk?
Update Your Policies
Your gym should adhere to all of the latest CDC guidelines for gyms. According to the CDC, that means starting at the door. Reduce gym capacity and take members’ temperatures before they enter. Many gyms require members to wear masks in communal spaces and when walking between equipment.
When it comes to the gym itself, pay attention to the spacing of weights and cardio machines (the CDC currently recommends staying six feet apart) and offer hand sanitizer, tissues, and sanitizing wipes for members to clean the equipment after use.
Don’t forget to be conscious of the areas that people touch that aren’t gym equipment, such as doorknobs, handrails, keyboards, desks, and faucets. Prop non-fire doors open and sanitize these areas frequently.
Whatever policies you decide to implement, update your members regularly, and post the rules throughout the gym. New gym-goers might not know what the protocol is, and unfortunately, ignorance could make your gym unsafe.
Most importantly, always follow specific state and regional guidelines. If you run facilities in multiple states or locations, you may have varying guidelines—and following all of them is critical.
Check and Update Your Cleaning Supplies
The cleaners you use matter. Not only do you need to disinfect and sanitize equipment professionally at least once per day, but some professional cleaning companies have designed disinfectants that target and kill COVID-19 specifically. For example, SERVPRO has developed a hospital-grade disinfectant called servprOXIDE, which is COVID-19 approved.
As such, note that not every cleaner is COVID-19 approved, so make sure to do your research. First, check all your current cleaning supplies using List N from the EPA, which specifies whether that product has been found to kill COVID-19 and limit the spread of the virus in your facility.
According to the CDC, all you have to do is enter the first two parts of the EPA registration number on the product’s label into the List N Tool.
If none of your current products are on the list, you can use the same tool to browse products to purchase new, ensuring everything you’re using is certified for COVID.
Demo Exercise.com Gym Management Software today.
Prepare Your Gym for COVID in 2021
Make Digital Easier To use
Apps or an up-to-date website allow you to facilitate a contact-free gym experience. Customers can use these tools to book classes online or find information without having to come into the gym. While it may take some time to get it right, use these tips to ensure the digital experience is both easy to navigate and welcoming so you can keep members coming through your doors:
- Make website navigation easy. No one wants to spend time searching around a website to find what they need. Make it obvious where they can book classes or find COVID-related information.
- Update your mobile site. If your mobile site is hard to use, customers may click away. Make sure it’s simple and straightforward.
- Use a booking software to handle online bookings and reservations—now that we’ve been dealing with COVID since March of 2020, customers are beginning to expect this. (Luckily, Exercise.com fitness business software has extensive online booking features.)
Consider Virtual Options
Virtual classes are the way of the future, and they may be the way you get through this January rush with your sanity (and your membership list) intact. Virtual classes can be taught in many different ways, and you can tailor these methods to your audience. Here are a few ideas to consider in 2021:
- Subscription Service: You record a series of workout videos that are available through an online portal. Members pay a reduced monthly fee to use the online portal and non-members can access it for a larger fee.
- ‘Live’ Virtual Classes: These are live classes taught by instructors via video chat software. This is a great way to keep everyone involved and keep retention levels up after the January rush.
- Free Classes on Social Media: Hosting classes on social media can open your gym up to a new audience. You can pre-record classes or use Instagram or Facebook’s ‘live’ options to host in real-time. Disclaimer: you may struggle to monetize this option but offering ‘taster’ sessions via social media is a great way to encourage more people to come to your gym. Don’t forget to repurpose these by posting on YouTube as well.
For live streaming tips, head to our article Tips for Live Streaming Fitness Classes.
Communicate With Your Members
Communicating with your members is crucial during the January rush. According to the experts at ZipWhip, texting and emailing are the best ways to keep your members informed. Here are some of their best tips for communicating with clients in this way:
- Send texts to remind and update members. Remind your members about your latest live stream classes or any new COVID-related updates.
- Don’t skimp on the encouragement. According to ZipWhip’s research, 66 percent of gym-goers said they would like to receive encouraging messages from their gym.
- Regularly update your members about the steps you’re taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Regular emails show your audience that you take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously. Let them know about the cleaning and distancing methods you’re using to keep people safe, so they have peace of mind when entering the facility.
Embrace the New Normal With Gym Management Software
This new normal offers both a challenge and an opportunity. These simple strategies can make your business safe this January, despite the influx of clients, while also allowing you to engage in new ways, make necessary updates to your website and more. If you see this as an opportunity, your business is more likely to flourish, regardless of what the new normal brings.
To learn more about Exercise.com can help you implement all of the tips listed above (aside from cleaning, of course), book a demo of our gym management software today.