The North’s leading mid-market health club, Total Fitness, has released an extensive plan to transform the gym experience into a COVID-19 safe space and reopen once the Government advises it can.
The club, which has drawn up plans to reopen as soon as it is safely possible, has developed an extensive new policy to safeguard customers, which goes significantly further than the newly created industrywide guidance by ukactive, the health and fitness trade association.
As part of its extensive Covid-19 reopening plan, it will rethink the interior layout of its 17 health clubs, ensuring all machines and equipment are apportioned at least two metres apart to adhere to government guidelines. They are currently testing and refining the layouts of two prototype clubs to create a blueprint for all of the Total Fitness clubs.
The club is in a unique position in the gym market due to the size of its gyms and the space afforded to customers. The extent of space within its gyms, which total 73,000 SQ ft. on average, means that even if it apportioned as much as 3m² to each per customer, it would still not reach 40% capacity during peak hours – making Total Fitness one of the best-equipped gym operators for social distancing measures in the UK.
Meticulous hygiene is key to the club’s plan, and each gym will be subject to a rigorous cleaning schedule, to ensure that all equipment and touchpoints are cleaned after use.
Total Fitness also plans to overstaff its open-spaced areas to monitor social distancing and allow all members to exercise safely. Increased staff numbers will provide members with additional support and also ensure cleaning procedures are carried out regularly.
It will also revise its class timetable, to ensure there is a longer than required turnaround time between each class – this allows thorough cleaning procedures to be carried out. Group exercise classes will not operate above 50% capacity, to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.
With industry guidelines currently supportive of pool re-openings, with chlorinated water known to kill the virus, Total Fitness is well placed to do so with the latest wet-side facilities in the private sector. It will work on social distancing measures in addition on poolside and also in the changing rooms to minimise the footfall and keep people moving. However, squash and heat treatments rooms are to remain closed until it is safe for them to reopen.
Sophie Lawler, CEO of Total Fitness comments, “The activity sector has long served in the fight against preventable disease and at no time in my recollection has this been more important than now. It’s been exceptionally encouraging to hear physical activity talked about so much since the start of the crisis – indeed we’ve talked about it more in the last 7 weeks than we have in the last 7 years.
“We applaud the people who have continued to exercise and those who have joined the active population more recently – this is simply brilliant. We know from our decades of experience as health club operators that exercising alone at home isn’t the full solution for achieving sustainable lifestyle change and that the vast majority of people need additional support – namely variety; visit commitment (a date with a destination) and; social connection.
“From the start of the closure, the entire sector came together – very much in the spirit of the fitness community – to co-create a unilateral protocol for reopening safely on the other side. Facilitated by our sector representative body ukactive we have a robust set of guidelines for safe operations to which we’re all committed. The health club sector is exceptionally well-set to help support the fight against COVID-19, and Total Fitness is absolutely best placed to do so. This is a sector that is unquestionably part of the solution.
“Total Fitness health clubs have super scale facilities that enable a great deal of variety, space and social connection, giving us the opportunity to reopen safely and provide the well needed additional motivating factors needed to keep our members physically and mentally resilient. We are guided by the government advice and our sector-wide framework facilitated by the team at ukactive – we will take their lead and will be ready to open as soon as permitted.”
About Total Fitness
Total Fitness is the leading mid-market health club in the North and provides more ways to get fit, stay in shape, and more support to keep members focused.
With 17 health clubs across the North of England and Wales, Total Fitness provides a full-service fitness offering; guided by knowledgeable and supportive fitness teams, the brand works hard to meet the individual needs of its members.
For more information, please visit www.totalfitness.co.uk.
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