Did you reopen on the date your state/local government allowed it? How did it go?
We re-opened two days after the original date due to the state of the country with protests regarding systemic racism in our country. We decided to pause our opening to stand in solidarity with those combating racial injustice. We donated what would have been sales for those two days to an organization fighting inequalities. The opening went well. We were almost fully booked within 48 hours. We had been planning for this day for weeks so we were ready.
There was controversy where we live. In Orange County they voted to allow businesses to open while the State of CA did not. We could not continue to operate and succeed if we stayed closed.
Our opening went smoothly. We took many precautions and ensured that the safety of our members and employees were always top priority. We knew we would lose 40-50% of our business. We currently have lost roughly 45% of our membership due to COVID
How did your clients respond? Did people show up? What’s the layout/capacity you’re working with? Are you making it work at the lesser capacity?
Clients responded well and followed the guidelines without issue so far. We were at 80% of our available capacity by the end of our first week. We have limited class size of 4 clients per class spaced 10 feet apart to avoid having to wear masks. Our 1:1 schedule is also limited in time offerings with allowing only 2 instructors at the studio with clients at any given time. While we are happy to be almost full at our lesser capacity we realize this will be a struggle if it continues for an extended period of time but we are happy to at least be moving in a positive direction.
We took many polls prior to opening so we had a good understanding of how people would respond. Yes people did show up with one of our studios doing extremely well but the other one is struggling currently.
We have a large Group Area that spans roughly 3200 Square feet. Getting 30 people in class with social distancing was very doable. Making it work? Yes, Thriving? NO
What new measures/protocols did you put into place, particularly around cleaning, staffing, and training?
We have no more than 3 instructors at the studio at any given time (we have three separate rooms for each instructor) + 1 administrative team member. Classes/Sessions have been cut down to 45 minutes to allow for proper cleaning between clients. We spray each piece of equipment with EPA approved disinfectant between clients as well as have the studios deep cleaned with biostatic disinfectant several times a week.
We hired additional Facilities Staff to ensure we have 24/7 cleaning in the facilities. We have a 4 step entry process.
- Must wear a mask to enter
- Must pass Thermal Temp Check
- Must Immediately wash & disinfect hands
- Can take off mask when in group room and must exit out of rear of studio
Staff wears masks.
How did you re-engage clients and your community?
We never stopped engaging with them. From the day we closed we sent weekly emails, held Virtual Classes, Specialty Online Workshops and even did monthly check in calls with clients to see how they were doing and if they needed anything. We sent our surveys several weeks prior to opening asking our clients what they would need to feel comfortable returning to the studio so we would be prepared for what needed to happen upon reopening. So when the time came everyone was ready to go.
Same systems as before. We Rely heavily on Social, Email Campaigns and Text Messaging Platforms.
What are you doing differently now than you did pre-Covid (across the board)?
How we treat and service our clients never changed. One of our Core Values is Customer Commitment and that value was certainly tested during this time but we will always put to customer first. We have had to innovate and get comfortable with technology to provide online and virtual sessions, re-evaluate our future growth potential, get buy in on the new normal from our team and our customers. We are really leaning on each other both as a team and a community to make this work together.
There is the obvious like Program Design, engagement with clients, over communication with our health and safety precautions. But in the terms of our experience, that is our foundation so it’s vital we keep doing what has been our bread and butter.
What’s been your biggest surprise upon reopening?
We were surprised at who decided to return to the studio and who didn’t. Had you asked me prior to this ever happening I would have guessed differently. I was also surprised with the choices some people from our team chose to make during this crisis.
The amount of people that have forgone their focus on Fitness during Quarantine. It will catch up and we will see an increase in health issues because of COVID.
The biggest surprise is our Irvine studio which is in a Corporate Area. The use of showers prior to work is HUGE….
How are you feeling about the future after Covid?
To be honest I am feeling excited for the future. Not about the struggles that lie ahead especially in the next few months. BIG decisions will have to made. BUT I am excited about the possibilities of innovating and designing new and improved programs and growth opportunities for the company. That is going to be incredibly important (I believe) for those businesses that will survive and those that may not.
I think this is going to make many brands scale down and be much more risk adverse before growth…………We were in a major growth phase, taking calculated risks, but we are going to be ultra conservative moving forward.