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Holding in person fitness classes during an Omicron Covid wave

Covid has been impacting our lives  for quite some time now. Whether it be the original brand of Covid-19 or the new Omicron wave we’re seeing, you likely  know the drill by now.  Omicron is the fastest spreading variant and has the highest number of infections worldwide. Thankfully, we as a society have gotten better at handling the spread of Covid, with  healthcare systems and governments working together to develop an efficient Covid management system to safeguard our health and communities.

Depending on where you live, you may have noticed lockdowns and restrictions being eased or lifted to allow people to slowly return to normal. So as more and more people are willing to step outside the comfort of their homes now you’re likely thinking about safe ways to hold an in-person class.

In this post, we will be discussing a few safety measures and steps you should take during this and any future outbreaks to make your in-person fitness class a safe and comfortable experience for both you and your clients. We will also explain why you should start planning and marketing in-person fitness classes today and ways to fill your in-person classes quickly.

Check Government Restrictions Before Holding Classes

Covid restriction and lockdown rules get released regularly by local media and national news. We recommend you meet these legal covid safety standards and update your class terms and conditions where appropriate. If you are using fitness class schedule software like ClassFit you should be able to do this pretty quickly and easily.   By following Covid regulations in your local area you will gain trust and set a positive image of yourself in the fitness industry.

Set class safety measures

As the saying goes, precaution is better than a cure. The omicron variant is known to be notoriously asymptomatic in some people which means that people can be carrying the deadly variant without showing any symptoms. Therefore you need to take precautionary steps to minimize social contact amongst your students in case one of them is unknowingly carrying it. This could be through social distancing, sanitizing or by asking clients to use masks. We cover many of these in more detail below.

Pick an appropriate class size

Assuming there are no governmental restrictions on the size of your class, you can have classes as large as you like. However, you should consider both your comfort level, and the comfort levels of your clients. As every client is different, it’s possible that you’ll have some clients who aren’t worried about Covid at all, and others, possibly those at risk, who are super cautious. Offering huge classes might be great for those who aren’t worried, but could quickly scare off those who are. And while they may come back once the world returns to normal, there is always the risk that they find another class that is more attuned to their needs beforehand.   Rather than trying to guess what everyone wants, we recommend asking your clients. This could be on a paper form in class, via email, Survey Monkey, or in any way you like. You could even ask specific questions like would people be willing to pay a little extra to facilitate smaller, more frequent classes, noting that you will need to rent more studio time to facilitate this, but that your client will get a more personal, and safer experience in return.

Keeping Your Exercise Environment Clean

Think about your class location. Where possible avoid crowding lots of people into a small space limited ventilation. Depending on the weather, this could also be a good opportunity for you to try outdoor classes. Many of your clients might be more open to this than they previously were because of the safety implications, which could be great for you as it could also be a way to reduce your costs. Whether your class is indoors or outdoors, your clients will likely appreciate a clean environment more than ever. Keep hand sanitizers and wipes at the ready so your students can use them as and when needed. Purchase disposable  masks to offer clients in case they forgot to bring their own. And where relevant, ask your students to carry personal exercise equipment or sanitize their equipment after each session.

Track attendance and medical information

Track client attendance so if someone does test positive, you can inform their classmates who may want to take a Covid test. You can do this manually with a pen and paper, or if you use fitness class schedule software like ClassFit you can keep this all on one system and either sign people in yourself, or have them sign themselves in as they enter the class.

We recommend you ask students to provide appropriate medical information and emergency contact details when they sign up.This can be useful for several reasons. Firstly it might be that they shouldn’t attend your class with certain medical conditions, in which case you can recommend another class to them. Secondly you can tailor your services better to your clients if you understand their medical needs and injury history. And thirdly, if something did go wrong, you would be able to better respond to it with a fuller picture of their medical history, and call their emergency contacts if necessary.

There are ways you can collect, read and archive this information. This could be as simple as a pen and paper, and manually inputting this into Google Forms, or  by using fitness class schedule software such as ClassFit which can allow you to create your own custom medical / intake forms and store all information in one neat and tidy place.

Check Your Student’s Covid Status

If appropriate, you can ask for your student’s vaccine status within your medical forms. You may wish to limit classes to only those who have a certain vaccine status, or perhaps offer specific classes for only those who are fully vaccinated. While you may be comfortable teaching unvaccinated students, you may have some students who would only come to class if they were confident that everyone else there had been fully vaccinated. This extra precaution could be the thing that brings some of your students back to class earlier than they otherwise would have returned.

Apply Your Policy 

You can create a policy, waiver, or terms and conditions which your clients will need to agree to before attending your class. This could be something they sign with a pen and paper, which you could then physically store or you could use fitness class schedule software such as ClassFit to take care of this for you.

Use Contactless Payments

You could take cash payments, but we’ve learned that handling cash is one of the top ways to spread Covid. This is why many businesses have begun to mandate contactless payments, to protect their staff and clients. If you’re taking bookings manually, you can share your payment details with clients, such as PayPal or Venmo, but you’ll likely need to chase your more “forgetful” clients for payments which creates unnecessary admin for you. We would always recommend that you use fitness class scheduling software such as ClassFit to take payments before the class so nobody has to chase or handle cash payments.

Let Your Clients Know How You’re Keeping Them Safe During Covid

Inform your clients about the measures you’re taking to safeguard them in each class. You can do this through any interaction such as emails, WhatsApp group messages, and social media posts. This will help to  eliminate any doubts or fears they might have about the safety of your classes. It will also demonstrate how professional you are, and how much you care about their wellness. These are all good things that will increase your standing in your community and increase the demand for your classes.

Give A Personalized Experience

Keep clients updated on their reservations and subscriptions, notify them about an upcoming in-person class they might be interested in joining you. Tell them about upcoming projects you are planning. Just make sure to divide your marketing message into parts. Do not drop all information on them in a single post. Keep your clients curious about what’s next. Limit the number of times you engage with your customers, or it can get spammy.

Discounts and Offers

Design offers to get potential customers to sign up on the spot, rather than taking some time to think about it, and possibly forgetting later. This could be as simple as a “25% discount off your first month if you sign up today” offer, offering their first class for free, or offering a free class if they bring a friend. This is something you can do manually, or something you can set up in any robust fitness class schedule software such as ClassFit. It’s also definitely worth advertising if you are flexible with package and membership lengths, as some clients might be hesitant to purchase a package, if they fear that another lockdown, or Covid wave might render a large portion of it useless.

Use Positive Messaging

Since the emergence of Covid there has been a lot of doom and gloom messaging out there. Stand out by using positive messaging when posting on social media or sending personalized emails/notifications. Include healthy words of encouragement and motivation to get your clients interested in exercising rather than using negative marketing tactics that may make customers feel insecure about their bodies or lifestyle. If you make your clients feel confident and secure, they’re more likely to show up to your class.

Get Started On An In-Person Fitness Class Today

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