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What does a socially distanced leisure centre and health club look like?
22 Dec 2020
The world has had to get used to social distancing in 2020 and any business operating in the leisure and hospitality sectors has had to face this challenge more than most.

There may well be future localised measures and even closures but the overall picture is one of an improving situation as the vaccine roll-out continues.

That said, leisure centres and health clubs will all have to operate with social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future until the rules start to be relaxed in earnest.

So, what do such facilities look like when they have social distancing measures in place? Club membership management software Club Right shares its top tips.

Limited members with simultaneous access

Although no membership-based business model wants to restrict access to its services, this is the reality of a world that faces a global health crisis.

Most leisure facilities will be only able to accept a certain number of its members at the same time so that space between people can be properly maintained.

This limitation isn't necessarily about wider spaces, such as the gym, pool or studio but the pinch points, including corridors, changing rooms and entrances.

Consequently, operators need to offer members a clear way of booking their sessions at a time that suits them, ideally from an app which they can use at any time.

Customers will enjoy this flexibility, especially if it allows them to adjust their booking without fuss or to search for slots that have just become available in real-time when your capacity is necessarily limited.

Appropriate signage

Sending digital updates about COVID-secure restrictions to your membership is also a good idea for reminding them of the basics.

However, appropriate signage should be deployed within leisure centres and health clubs to back this up.

Floor stickers are another great tool for social distancing as well as wall graphics that indicate where sanitation points and washing facilities are located.

Where particular pieces of equipment are out-of-bounds to help maintain social distancing – such as every second treadmill, for example – the use of a sign or a strut card is the simplest and most flexible approach to take since these can be easily rearranged.

Adequate sanitation and ventilation

Sanitation is important in any COVID-secure premises, so setting up sanitation stations is essential.

Ideally, premises should have them available at multiple locations which members can reach without having to operate door handles.

Ventilation with natural airflow is also an equally important factor to consider.

Club Right suggests leaving doors and windows open rather than turning air-conditioning units on.

This might mean roping off an entrance or two but it should mean more aeration enters the building which, in turn, will reduce the likelihood of viral transmission occurring.

The role of leisure centre and health club staff

Health and fitness centres will need to consider limiting visitor numbers and thus also the numbers of staff in the building too.

Personal trainers may also have to put up with fewer clients in the facility for the time being but this does not mean that they cannot operate outside, so long as appropriate social distancing is maintained.

Where staff members work in one place, such as a reception area, then ensure face masks are mandatory and increase protection offered by implementing a screen in front of them.

This is especially important when they will face an upturn in visitor numbers as restrictions begin to lift.

Limited operations

All in all, many of the measures that make social distancing work in health clubs and leisure centres are nothing more than common sense.

Maintaining them is harder, however, especially when people tire from their exertions and don't necessarily think as sensibly as they should.

For this reason, limiting numbers and the services on offer still makes sense but as more and more people are immunised, the situation will change and normal operations can return once more.

Contact Club Right today for more information and tips to ensure that your health club or leisure centre is safe when it comes to social distancing.
Club Right
Address: Unit 4 Radford Business Park Radford Way Billericay CM12 0DP
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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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