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Prepping for Reopening

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Once health clubs first shut down due to the coronavirus, it was difficult for some not knowing when their doors were going to open again. But now that time has passed, it’s important to have a reopening plan in place for when your club is given the greenlight to open.

Nick Orlando, the owner of Gold’s Gym East Northport in East Northport, New York, knows reopening is going to be a challenge, but it’s one he is ready for.

“Our club being in New York — we’re in Suffolk County on Long Island — we’re really in the belly of the beast as far as getting hit the worst in the country,” said Orlando. “We really have our work cut out for us.”

Their initial cleaning procedures prior to the coronavirus pandemic was to use an outside cleaning company that hires workers to come in and clean the facility. Moving forward, Orlando said he’s rearranged their schedules to be present in the club full-time during open hours.

“We were previously open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., but for part of our first phase of opening, we’re going to start with limited hours,” said Orlando. “We’re going to be doing 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This is going to give us a chance to be present on the floor to monitor members to make sure they are wiping down equipment.”

The club is planning on starting the first phase of opening in mid-May. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, all members will be sent a new code of conduct describing how the club will function and their responsibilities. 

Phase one of the opening consists of a variety of additional procedure besides just limited hours. Here are a few examples:

  • All employees will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) along with getting temperature checks before their shifts. 
  • Every other cardio machine will be closed with a “social fitnessing” sign to give members ample space to do cardio safely. All strength equipment has been readjusted as well to provide six feet of distance in-between.
  • Increased cleaning stations throughout the club, including antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays.
  • Directional signs will be placed throughout the club’s high traffic areas and staircases to ensure proper social distancing and avoid any traffic jams so members can move freely. 

Having a proper plan in place is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if your members aren’t aware.

Gold’s Gym East Northport is marketing its opening through a professional video explaining the member’s new journey throughout the club. This video will be posted on all social media pages as well as sent out via email.

“The video is going to highlight that walk into the club and how we’ve changed,” said Orlando. “It will show the extra sanitizing stations and the front desk check-in where guests can now see the separation. In that video, we’ll also have an employee walk-in and get their temperature taken. That way, they can see this is what we’re doing with our staff.”

Another essential part of planning your club’s reopening is being prepared that some members will not feel comfortable returning. Gold’s Gym East Northport is combating this by continuing to offer their online classes for free so members can still stay healthy until they feel comfortable returning to the gym.

Overall, when preparing for a reopen, Orlando said to remain flexible.

“We are continuing to adjust our policies and ideas as the state provides more information,” said Orlando. “Our main goal is to ensure our members and community that Gold’s Gym is a safe environment to workout in, and for those not ready to get back into a gym setting that we will have virtual and outdoor offerings until they are ready to do so.”

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is a staff writer for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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