As clubs across the U.S. receive the all-clear to reopen from their state governors, many are wondering what operations will look like as operators strive to meet social distancing guidelines, limits on usage, and more robust cleaning and sanitizing protocols. Following are examples of how clubs across the nation are planning to reopen, with the safety of their employees and members in mind.
“One of the biggest challenges has been navigating the uncertainty with the timing of re-opening our many sites,” said Bill McBride, the co-founder, president and CEO of Active Wellness. “With sites across the U.S. and two in Canada, we are having to pay close attention to the state government schedules and circumstances in each community. We want to open as soon as we can, but only when we know we can open responsibly by protecting our team and our members.”
With this in mind, McBride explained cleanliness will be at the forefront of reopenings. “We have always kept our sites very clean,” he said. “However, we will increase our cleanliness/sanitation, along with measures of spatial distancing, personal protective equipment, common sense screening measures and staff/member educational training.”
Active Wellness is also producing a series of staff training videos on its new protocols, as well as videos on courteous behavior to encourage members to be socially responsible. “While we are not creating new contract agreements with our members, we are updating our rules and regulations to include expected member behaviors on physical environment and personal conduct,” added McBride.
Additional new strategies Active Wellness is employing include:
- New protocols
- Members/staff screening
- Enhanced sanitation processes
- Enhance sanitation stations at all member “touchpoints”
- Staff training
- Member education
- Physical environmental signage
- Spatial distancing
- Following all governmental guidelines and using common sense
Wellbridge is also keeping member and staff safety at the forefront of its reopening protocols.
According to JoAnna Masloski, the COO of Wellbridge, the company has put together a new operating procedures document and will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to its associates, including masks and gloves.
Examples of strategies Wellbridge is employing include:
- Checking the temperature of associates and members.
- Members will be asked to reserve workout time via the club app.
- New member cleaning responsibilities, which the club is branding “social responsibility.”
As clubs across the U.S. begin or prepare to bring their teammates back, Masloski explained this is a great time to make a second first impression with staff.
“I think the biggest thing we’re getting into right now as a business is talking about the opportunity for that second first impression,” said Masloski. “Whatever things you’ve learned over your career that you’ve always wanted to make sure teammates heard or that your organization amplifies — this is the opportunity to bring them back with those philosophies in mind. What is that first impression you’ve always wanted to be able to offer to your team and your members? Let that challenge you on how you are going to bring your teammates back to kick off and reopen your club.”
Since closing in mid-March, Club Greenwood’s team has been working tirelessly on reopening protocols, culminating in a 16-page document the club continues to add to.
“Club Greenwood has been proactively working on our reopening plan for nearly five weeks, using information from local and state health officials, and feedback from other clubs throughout the country to create a sound yet dynamic document,” said Paula Neubert, the president and general manager of Club Greenwood. “We have to be flexible and ready to make changes on a dime, knowing updated information is coming out daily. Our staff members are excited and ready to welcome our members back to the club.”
Examples of strategies Club Greenwood will utilize include:
- Requiring employees to wear masks
- Temperature checks of staff
- Reopening in three phases
- Separate entrances/exits for members
According to Neubert, she and her team feel a responsibility to open safely and strategically, not only for the health and safety of their community, but with the industry’s reputation in mind as well.
“The worst thing that could happen is one of our clubs opens without having the appropriate protocols in place and an outbreak happens in it, and we get negative publicity for it,” said Neubert. “That’s why I think it’s so important that we as an industry are going through the same steps through almost an above-and-beyond protocol. I think that’s one of the things that’s really important — that we as an industry collectively continue to work together and clubs all safely reopen in a manner that’s similar to one another.”