The gym today is different than it was 12 months ago. It’s changed. Maybe we have, too. There have always been rule keepers and rule breakers, but now, it’s like they live on either side of your fitness club, and they’re driving each other crazy. The culprit? Masks, social distancing, germ wars … the list goes on and on.
Meanwhile, you and your staff are stuck in the middle. As a gym owner, you need to manage all these senarios to minimize any potential harm
First, educate your staff. Define your gym’s coronavirus policy, and what national guidelines it is based on. Make sure your staff understands state policy on mask wearing, and the latest CDC guidelines for health clubs. Then:
- Post signs throughout the club. Set expectations. Utilize images to account for language differences.
- Send out an email to all members notifying them of mask requirements and the situations for which they are necessary.
- Post details about the club’s mask policy on social media.
- Update the club’s website to include information on masks.
Handle complaints between members:
- Offer empathy — many people are still frightened of the coronavirus.
- Ask questions. Is this a trivial mistake and a serious challenge?
- Allow a properly trained employee to discuss the problem with the offending member.
Manage the member who still won’t wear a mask…
If you’ve got a gym member who absolutely refuses to wear a mask for philosophical reasons, then fall back on your city, state or national requirements. If it’s the law, then your club is allowed to refuse service if the person is not exempt due to a disability.
Unfortunately, some people are presenting documentation claiming they are exempt from mask mandates. So much so, the Department of Justice felt it necessary to issue an alert, stating these cards are fraudulent.
As far as we know, there is no blanket exemption from mask mandates for people with disabilities. However, many national laws exist requiring businesses open to the public to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, even during a pandemic. For more information, review this IHRSA article “What You Need to Know About Masks in Your Fitness Center.”
Set an example for gym members.
As simple as it sounds, setting a good example goes far with irate customers grousing about lax members. If your staff takes the rules seriously, then members will as well. If your staff is vigilant about cleanliness, safety precautions, and following established distancing requirements, then your clients will be, too.
As a fitness instructor once told me while I practiced to teach classes, “Anything I do, they do. Every time.”
What are some of the ways your gym has found to keep members calm — and compliant —throughout the pandemic? Watch for our next blog on handling negative social media posts!
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