In the new era of COVID-19, where does equipment cleaning responsibility fall?
Have you ever been to a gas station bathroom that was so dirty it made your stomach do backflips? Ironically enough, that may just be how our members feel coming back to a gym. Looking back at pre-pandemic cleaning standards versus those we are now expected to uphold in a post-pandemic world can be quite overwhelming. On one hand it could be concerning how much trust we put in our members to keep our facilities safe, on the other the expectations we have set for our self now could easily bankrupt us. So how do we find the happy medium of keeping our members safe without spending all of our labor costs on cleaning staff?
When most facilities were permitted to reopen in summer 2020 we were primarily outdoors, with little to no equipment. As locations moved indoors the task of single handedly managing deep cleaning multiple times quickly became a daunting task. Our organization specifically reversed all expectations that were ever put on members. Members were encouraged to not rerack their weights, wipe down their cardio equipment after use or put their group exercise equipment away at the end of class. Our staff would take care of all of that. We even closed the facilities mid-day for a deep clean.
On top of that, layer massive staffing reductions due to revenue loss and we were in a pickle. Vice presidents and executive directors were working the fitness floor and scrubbing equipment. It felt as if we were blasted into the twilight zone. But, it worked. Members could tell that we truly and genuinely cared about their safety and would do anything to make sure they were comfortable to come back. What we didn’t know was how long that would be sustainable as membership numbers grew.
So now the pendulum has swung the other way, it’s the perfect time to discuss how to find the middle ground in this dichotomy. There is no need to have employees doing all the cleaning and it is unreasonable to expect members to keep each other safe as well. Below are a few guidelines to help with equipment cleaning responsibility:
Members Need to See You Cleaning
Wear a Mask, No Matter What
Signage, Signage, Signage
Have Cleaning Supplies Ready
Don’t Get Lackadaisical
What guidelines are you following in your facility that could be pivotal for other recreation centers?