People are price gauging used, rusty equipment. Ridiculous.
Whether or not gyms should open is a topic I'm in the middle on. Do I think Planet Fitness should open and fill their facility up with people? No, I don't. Should my private training studio be open for 1 on 1 training? Under specific circumstances, yes. But, I'm not filling myself schedule up either.
When it comes to big box gyms, the restrictions on distancing, mask wearing, and cleaning protocols is going to be very difficult to manage. The more people there are in the facility, the higher the likelihood someones NOT going to adhere to the guidelines.
My fear is that there's going to be an outbreak of something, COVID or otherwise, at one of these larger facilities, and the entire industry is going to be shut down again.
On the flip side, The small studio could feasibly run 1 on 1 sessions, adhere to all guidelines and stay safe with carefully thought out plans. Allowing time between clients to disinfect. That being said, I don't believe small studios should be booking full days of sessions, because there's so much to unwrap about the last 2 months that we don't even understand yet.
I've spoken publicly about the "middle ground" on my platforms before and I think the concept of the middle ground applies here. Situations with more uncontrollable factors than controllable need to be approached with extreme caution. Whether it's because these facilities want to protect people or protect themselves from litigation (the liability factor is real), doesn't matter. A slow approach is right on both fronts.
For small and mid-size studios, a soft re-opening also makes sense. These businesses have had the opportunity to discuss with each client comfort level, recent health history, potential exposure to COVID, and in-depth conversations on the new protocols in that facility. If you're a small to mid-size facility and you haven't thought through this in detail and discussed in detail with your clients, you're not ready to open. If you don't know what your clients comfort level is, you're not ready to open. If you haven't identified clients who are not comfortable coming back, you're not ready to open.
But, here's the thing...In both the big box and small gym scenarios, there's a wild card factor that no-one wants to discuss:
That one person who could ruin it for EVERYONE.
That one person could be the oblivious person not following distancing, mask and disinfectant guidelines or it could be that one person who thinks a facility isn't following the guidelines and calls the Health Department to report. If an investigation is opened, the facility will likely be shut down during an investigation even if they have followed every single protocol to the T.
Or it could be that one person looking for a reason to sue someone. They're out there and you know it. Never underestimate the power of the disgruntled human.
And that's where we are right now with pretty much every re-opening scenario. That one person. The wild card who can ruin it for everyone. That one person who could put people at risk or make false accusations of risk. Gyms stand to lose everything whether they open or not. There's no ideal scenario and we need to be honest about that.
I know, you don't want to talk about this. We don't want to talk about how divided we are on the topic because we're supposed to all be in this together. Except we're not all in this together. Opinions have an extreme range and very few people have taken the "middle road" approach to their lives and work. This is a problem for gyms.
Here's what I'm asking.
If you think COVID 19 doesn't exist, please don't go to a gym or schedule a session with your trainer. You're going to ruin it for everyone with your aggressive attitude.
If you think COVID 19 is threatening your well-being just by simply going outside for a walk, please don't to a gym or schedule a session with your trainer. You're not ready.
If worrying about germs and behavior of people around you is going to make you uncomfortable, you shouldn't rush back, but start having conversations with people who can guide you to a middle ground so you can get what you need and feel comfortable.
If you're going back, please follow the rules. If you don't believe the virus is real, at least have respect for the gym owner and don't do anything that could get them shut back down.
If you're going back, don't be a Chatty Cathy. Get your workout done and leave.
If you're going back, don't be a jerk. Don't be jerk to the employees, your trainer or the other gym goers. Everyone involved is trying to navigate an undesirable situation.
The middle ground approach could include the following:
1. Outdoor workouts with your trainer if you have one. See what your comfort level is and transition to indoor sessions when you're both comfortable. Have in-depth conversation with your trainer to discuss your plan for going back.
2. Schedule short workout times. Have a plan going in. Know exactly what your workout is going to be. Get it done and get out.
3. Waiting a couple weeks after your gym opens if you're uneasy or unsure they are following protocols. If they haven't communicated protocols to you, ask them before you step foot in there. You either need your mind at ease or you need to know what the rules are BEFORE hand.
I want this industry to survive. I want all of us to make it. But I can't help but to worry about the wild cards that could ruin it for everyone involved, and the only way to identify and avoid those people is to find the middle ground. To have the conversations and to be extremely vigilant and self-aware.
Good luck to all and be well.