This article was first published on February 29th, 2020.

A common question we’re seeing around the Internet right now is “how will coronavirus affect my gym?” or “will coronavirus hurt my studio business”

This  guide has all the things you need to do to prepare for Coronavirus. 

Is Your Gym Prepared for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

We have written this post as a response to COVID-19 (hereafter, coronavirus) – which seems likely to outbreak around the world.

Your gym or studio should be prepared for how to deal with coronavirus.

This is the guide to how to properly address and deal with coronavirus in your gym or studio.

FREE CORONAVIRUS GYM POLICY POSTER

Make sure to get to the bottom to download the free poster!

5 Steps You Can Take To Prepare Your Gym For Coronavirus

  1. Publish Sanitation Requirements
  2. Disinfect and Clean Everything. All The Time.
  3. Limit Class Sizes
  4. Publish at Home Workouts
  5. Request Non-Healthy People Stay Home

Keep reading below to get all these key points.

How is Coronavirus Spread?

The CDC has published some information about coronavirus which you should read.  It clearly documented that coronavirus spreads mainly through two forms of transmission,

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

As a result, gyms are going to be a place where transmission will be feared – and you need to understand this sooner than later.

Preparing for this virus will help you and your community in a number of ways. If you properly plan, it might not have as bad an effect on your, your coaching staff, or your members.

Don't Freak Out - Do Take Precautions

The last thing we need to do is perpetuate a bunch of fear over unfounded things.

For the latest up to date information coronavirus, visit the CDC Summary page.

1. Publish and follow strict sanitation requirements

Quite literally the most important thing you can be doing at your gym or fitness studio is publishing strict sanitation requirements for your members and staff to follow.

Put signs up around your gym immediately asking them to wash their hands BEFORE and AFTER a workout, as well as wipe down ALL sweat or bodily fluids with a disinfectant – without exception.

The good news is boutique fitness member are often community thinking, and will happily do their part in helping keep the gym a sanitary place in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus.

According to Dr. Steven Reisman, of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, the absolute most important thing we can do is PROPER HANDWASHING.

Use this description of proper handwashing techniques to post to your clients, so they fully understand how to help curtail coronavirus exposure:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (frequently).
  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom , before eating , and after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.  

Handwashing Technique

The technique of washing is important. Wet your hands with clean running water and remove them from running water or temporarily turn it off and lather your hands with soap by rubbing them together including your hands , between your fingers , and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Next rinse your hands well under clean running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Concept: Viral Load

Viral Load is an important aspect to transmission.  Understanding that is key to preparing your studio or gym and keeping your clients happy” Dr. Cam Reyes tells us.

It’s not that touching a piece of equipment used by an infected person will immediately get you sick, but if you use that piece of equipment for an hour you’d be highly likely.

The longer and more continuous exposure, the increased likelihood.

Disinfect equipment at least once per class  and mandate hand washing before and after class.

  2. Disinfect and Clean Everything. All The Time

Asking your members to clean their hands makes total sense – let’s keep the germs off our hands and stop transferring them to equipment.

Having a solid equipment disinfecting plan is important too if you want to stop coronavirus cold.

We would recommend a two step process to make sure your equipment is clean and clear before any participants touch them:

  1. A policy that every member cleans every piece of equipment they touched during the workout THOROUGHLY.
  2. A policy that a coach personally disinfects all equipment at the end of each class.

This one two punch of cleaning and disinfecting will make sure there’s no accidental missed equipment cleaning.

Clorox (or similar) disinfectant wipes make for a solid, handy solution to wiping down equipment.

They claim to kill 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses.  Human coronavirus is advertised on the back of the product as one of the viruses it does indeed kill.

However, it’s worth noting that since today’s form of coronavirus is new, it hasn’t been scientifically proven that they kill it – just yet.

Regardless, taking this step and precaution is imperative, so do it.

Another gym-worth supplier of a disinfectant solution would be Zogics. Check out this industrial dispenser and disinfectant wipe solution!

Check out this industrial dispenser and disinfectant wipe solution!

Bonus Tip: Does A Face Mask Prevent The Spread of Coronavirus?

We’ve all seen everyone wearing masks already – but do they work in helping contain the spread of coronavirus?  Turns out,  they aren’t as effective as they would seem to be.

Dr. Steven Reisman chips in again on this topic:

“Presently there is no conclusive evidence that a healthy person wearing a face mask can prevent being infected by the virus. It appears that face masks should be worn by those who have viral symptoms and those including health care workers who take care of individuals in a close setting or those taking care of someone with viral symptoms.”

Apparently someone at the CDC (or was this a well pulled off hoax?) decided to make a super funny if not enlightening infographic on facial masks and how facial hair can affect their effectiveness.

Hoax or real, we love it!

Coronavirus face mask effectiveness

3. Limit Class Sizes

Dujring this time it might be wise to limit class sizes.  Your members should understand and respect the fact that you’re making an effort to continue offering service, in a responsible way.

Coronavirus is spread from human to human in close contact, generally under 6 feet. This it stands to reason if we’re not over-populating classes and keeping your clients at a decent proximity to each other, they should be mitigating risk.

Coronavirus gym class cap diagramOne easy way to figure out your class cap is to use a square footage model.  Since we know we’d like people to be more than 6 feet apart, we can use 8 square feet as a basis.

Draw your gym floor space on a piece of paper, and label the width and length in terms of feet.  Mark it up in 8 by 8 quadrants, and you will quickly see where your class caps are.

To the side is a (crude) drawing of my gym and how we would break up the gym space into fifteen blocks of 80sf each.

The great thing about doing this, is you will be able to safely and easily put a gym member in this space with anything they need for the to workout without much consideration for spilling over.

 

Concept: Summer Remission

Most viral infections have a remission period in summer months, but have the potential to return in the fall and winter.

Developing these standard will be very important for your gym – not only today, but for future potential viral outbreaks.

Plus, who doesn’t appreciate a really well cleaned gym?

4. Publish Home Workouts

Do not forget that one of the values you provide your clients is GUIDANCE.  In the event of a coronavirus outbreak, you can still provide a ton of value by programming home workouts for your clients who decide not to come into the gym or studio.

The reason this is key is because you need to keep your clients engaged in your community and your workouts – and show them you are committed to their fitness, even if they are not coming into the gym for a little while.

This dedication to their progress and goals will resonate with people – so make sure you keep in contact (even more so if they choose to stay home).

Write them daily workouts to do – and check in on them daily to ask them how it went.  Use their feedback to discuss their future workouts.

Home Workouts Will Be Best Response To Highly Elevated Coronavirus Outbreak

If the CDC begins to determine that Coronavirus is an elevated threat, home workouts will be your best option to continue to drive value to your clients.

Adopt a remote-training process sooner than later to prepare for this if you feel this might be a good way to prepare.

Dr. Terry Simpson, MD. and podcast host of Your Doctors Orders thinks Home Workouts might be the way to go.

In the event of a large scale breakout of Coronavirus, avoiding large crowds might be on the minds of many consumers.  Build a program that allows them to workout from home.

Bonus Tip – Using a Home Workout Tracker Like SugarWOD

If you use a workout system like SugarWOD, you can actually dial this up to keep your community engaged and going strong while they might be on haitus from your gym.

Publish an “at home” workout track and tell anyone who wants to stay home due to coronavirus to join that track. Have them record their workout times and participate in the community of your gym while away!

5. Mandate Non-Healthy People Stay Home

Again, this seems like a no-brainer. However, if you don’t make a CLEAR and CONCISE ask, people will just assume whatever they want.

Adopt and publish a clear policy.  If you or anyone you know has come down with Coronavirus, please stay home.  See the above “Home Workouts” section for how to properly route them to a solution without risking losing their patronage.

Coronavirus is spread from human to human in close proximity – however often times those who are early in the stages of contraction do not show symptoms.

Bonus: Prepare Your Community

While we’re not big fans of spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) amongst your community, it might behoove you to get in front of this and start preparing your community for this.

We would recommend reading this article from NPR about how to best prepare your household for a potential coronavirus outbreak.

It has some very useful information in it, and if an outbreak looks imminent, it would be better to educate your community on how to deal with this best, because we are sure you love your members and want them to stay healthy.

Download The Coronavirus Policy Poster

As a quick and handy service to you, we’ve built a “Coronavirus Policies” poster.  Download this and print it and start posting it around your gym today.

Free, no email required.  Our service to you.