On Monday 22nd February 2021, the UK Government announced their roadmap out of our third national lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a phased lifting of lockdown in England, with different areas of the economy opening up at different stages over the next six months.
Phase 1 begins on the 8th of March 2021, with children returning to school and after
school sports to resume where necessary to support parents. Under-18 sport can take place at school as part of educational provision or as part of wraparound care, but should not otherwise take place at this time.
On the 29th of March 2021 (at the earliest), the Stay At Home order will be lifted and the Rule of Six will return. It allows up to six people to socialise outdoors, or in larger groups if they are from only two households. Good news for PTs and outdoor bootcamps that operate in small groups!
There will also be further relaxations to exercise restrictions, with outdoor sports facilities like golf courses, tennis and basketball courts being allowed to reopen.
It came as much relief for everyone in the fitness industry to hear that as part of Phase 2, gyms, health clubs, swimming pools and other indoor leisure businesses will be able to reopen their doors again on 12th April 2021 (at the earliest) after over four months of closure.
We’ll then move into Phase 3 on the 17th of May (at the earliest), which means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply. The Government will continue to monitor the situation when it comes to mixing indoors, but hopefully, by then we’ll be a step closer to indoor fitness classes being able to resume.
Phase 4 will come on 21st June 2021 (at the earliest), which will see all legal limits on social distancing removed and all remaining areas of the economy reopen.
These dates are preliminary at this stage, and reopening will be subject to four key criteria being met on each of the outlined dates. This criterion is as follows:
- The vaccine deployment programme is continuing successfully – including the flow of supplies.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The Government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new “variants of concern”.
If these tests are met at each phase of the roadmap, we could be back to normality by the summer of 2021 – a much needed silver lining for us all!
Now that we’re clear on what the phases mean for the fitness industry, we’ve put together a list of things that you should be considering ahead of time so that your reopening day goes as smoothly as possible.
Implement clear and concise rules.
While you should be following Government Guidelines for gyms and leisure centres (read those here), you should also decide on any additional safety rules as early as possible so that you can notify your members as soon as possible, to avoid surprises on opening day.
You should post the key information on your website and on your social media so that your customers can get familiar with what they can expect when they return to your facility.
Track & Trace
Although the plan is that the number of COVID-19 cases will have significantly fallen and the most at-risk groups vaccinated by the time April 12th rolls around, it’s still important to be able to keep a log of those that have visited your gym at a given time period. This means that in the event of a member testing positive, you can see who they came into contact with at your facility and notify those people to prevent them from spreading the virus even further.
If you use ClubRight as your gym management system, it’s possible to do all of the above in just a few clicks – whether you’re on the gym floor, behind the front desk or working from home.
Schedule regular and thorough cleaning.
Keeping your club clean has always been a necessity, but it’s more crucial than ever in the age of COVID-19. An easy way to schedule cleaning (and make sure it’s getting done!) is to implement a cleaning rota so that your staff know exactly when they should be wiping down equipment and other surfaces. Organising the cleaning on a rota will also allow you to make sure that nobody is in your facility and contaminating freshly-cleaned surfaces while the cleaning is going on, therefore making it extra safe for the next batch of members to come in.
A good gym software will allow you to keep this rota separate from your existing activities calendar to avoid confusion. To learn how we do it, give us a call on (+44) 0203 884 9777.
After over a year of social distancing and spending a total of 11 months in some level of lockdown, some members will be keen to get back to their local gym again but will be (understandably) nervous at the thought of doing so. A great way to ensure that your members and staff feel safe and to prevent your club from becoming overcrowded is to introduce a cap on the number of people in your facility at a given time. This will allow everyone in your club to maintain social distancing throughout the gym floor and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Depending on which software you use, you will be able to monitor attendance and introduce an automatic cap on the number of people that enter your facility at once, as well as monitor the amount of time an individual has spent in your gym. ClubRight allows you to see who is coming to the end of their time at your club and will notify them when it is time for them to leave. ClubRight also allows your members to check their Members App to see how busy your club is at a given time and send you a message to let you know they are on their way.
There are lots of things to think about and plan for in the next six weeks, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you try to tackle it all at once! Our advice is to start with each of the points mentioned in this post, and then start promoting your opening day. Remember that the dates provided by the Government are provisional and rely on the four tests being met at each stage.
But, it’s a much-needed glimmer of hope for the fitness industry and getting your members excited about reopening will help to keep your name in the frame.
We’ll be posting more tips, tricks and guides on how to best navigate reopening, along with any new updates from the Government over the coming weeks. So, watch this space!
- UKActive Recap of Lockdown Roadmap
- Operational Guidelines for the fitness industry during COVID-19
- Further information on ClubRight’s social distancing tools
To learn how ClubRight can help your reopening go as smoothly as possible, get in touch with one of our product experts today! Book your free trial or give us a call on (+44) 0203 884 9777.