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As we continue to navigate the landscape that is COVID-19 and the “New Normal,” we’ve come to terms with the fact that things may never go back to how they were before. The simple act of shaking a stranger’s hand for the first time, or hugging a friend you haven’t seen in a minute both seem so foreign now. Almost to the point of, “I can’t believe we ever did that!” Think about getting adjusted by your favorite yoga teacher at your favorite studio. Or your personal trainer motivating you to do just one more rep on the bench press at the gym. Or even just a barre workout before brunch with your best friends.
Times have changed. You’re adapting. “The earth is healing.” Everything is different. But what does that mean for you “getting back into the swing of things” at your favorite fitness studios? We’re shining a light on what yoga and fitness studios are doing to reopen, as well as keep you safe, post-COVID-19.
No business is immune to what is happening right now (or has happened in recent months). And of the most impacted have been fitness studios; gyms, yoga, Pilates, HIIT, barre, etc. These fitness modalities have had to shutter doors and adapt quickly to a new virtual environment, one where their clientele must continue their yoga practice from their living room, personal training from their patios, barre in the bedroom, and Pilates in the kitchen... But now, with reopening plans being dispersed across the globe, we enter a new phase of “all of this.”
Whether apprehensive about returning to hot yoga, or ready for a sweat with a friend (or a mix of the two), fitness studios have been hard at work on their reopening plans and making sure every t is crossed, lower-case j is dotted, and regulation is followed to ensure your safety. Let’s look at what they’re doing to reopen post-COVID-19 and into the new normal:
In the new normal, will 6 feet be the go-to for space between one another? Too early to really tell, but for now, it is.
As we start to re-enter studios, there will most likely still be some sort of social distancing procedures. There will potentially be changes to the layout of your favorite studios. Additionally, class structures and sizes will change to allow for adequate social distance. Make sure you’re booking well in advance if you want the front bike, or primo spot near the instructor in your next yoga class.
Studios are paying super close attention to federal and state guidelines and updating as needed. Check your Mindbody app often to account for new rules and class times for your favorited and bookmarked fitness studios.
Potentially the most talked-about item on this list, you can expect fitness studios to take the sanitization and disinfecting and overall cleanliness of their spaces very seriously. Considering 65% of salons and spas plan to put their disinfection and sanitization practices into overdrive*, you can expect gyms and yoga studios to follow suit (and maybe even take it even further.) In fact, 92% of you polled* noted that the importance of studios following rigorous disinfecting guidelines will be a deciding factor if you visit them again or not.
You're pretty much guaranteed that all surface areas and floors will be sanitized regularly, and there will be plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer readily available. (Note: Don’t be surprised if you don’t see props in your next yoga class. Many studios will be doing away with them.) There's a chance you'll see signs across different fitness studios to remind you that cleaning is being done on the regular. Hopefully, this will give you a small piece of mind.
Bob Algard of Solid Rock Training in Normal, Oklahoma, re-opened recently after putting a focus on cleaning. “Every single day, we do a professional, deep clean, and then we also we disinfect. You could eat off our floors now—not that you’d want to.”
Questions about cleaning procedures, find your favorite studio on the Mindbody app, call them up, and ask. Right now, most everyone will want to let you know how they are keeping their spaces clean for you!
Keep an eye on what your studios are doing on social media and email. There will be a lot of content flowing through the Instagrams while everyone posts memes about reopening. But if you’re able to sift through the clutter, you will find your studios planning their social media strategies carefully, working to build up trust and awareness.
If you see repeat or similar messages, go easy on them. They may be getting creative to attract brand-new clients who are excited to check out the studio for the first time, in-person. Regarding content, expect to see:
• Welcome back videos
• Insider tours of the “new space”
• New products, features, and classes offered
• Sanitization and disinfecting routines and how-to's
• Updated class schedules
If you are going directly to your fitness studio’s website, chances are, you’ll be met with some new messaging, imagery, and navigation.
Studios most likely made some changes during COVID-19 regarding closures, COVID-19 specials, and virtual services. These pages will most likely remain, but they will be updated again with new information. (It might even be a good idea to bookmark them, if you still use bookmarks.)
Lauren McAlister of McAlister Training in San Luis Obispo, CA is busily updating her site to ensure her clients stay in the know. “Transparency is so important right now—and our clients deserve to know what we’re doing now, and what we’re planning for as we reopen, to keep them safe.”
With updates to today’s IRL landscape changing rapidly, you may see more pop-ups... but don’t be so down on them this time around. These pop-ups could have important reopening information and some pretty sweet promotions to book classes.
Be sure to check out the pricing page to see if there are new deals for virtual, in-person, and a blend of the two. Additionally, if your studio live-streamed before reopening, chances are they will have a library of that content for you to revisit when you’d like. Try to find that in case you’re in a pinch and need a quick yoga workout you know how to do.
As studios start to reopen, they will have to answer an important question: What happens to my membership now? There’s a chance you switched from your normal monthly membership to a virtual-only model? Or you’ve abandoned your membership altogether and are going class-to-class. Regardless, your fitness studio is thinking about it and planning for it.
Be on the lookout for re-introductory offers if you’re already a client of the studio. There’s a chance you may get a week free just for coming back, or other perks we all love.
If you’re considering a new studio, this could prove to be the most ideal time. We taught you why it’s the perfect time to try a different exercise during COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders, but now it’s time to put those learning to IRL use. Reduced pricing for new members, and other introductory offers that seem too good to be true will be on display for you.
The check-in process will get a complete reevaluation and revamp. As mentioned, it’s not going to be uncommon for physical contact to be all but obsolete post-COVID-19. Studios will be very cognizant of crowding in the main lobby area and may work to eliminate all possible physical touchpoints. This is where booking ahead of time, through Mindbody is going to come in extra handy. We talked about reduced class sizes, and if you don’t book in advance, there’s a chance you won’t get into a class or the gym. Even salons and spas are talking about the “death of the walk-in,” and this is no different.
Pre-booking of classes may be required to limit crowding and contact at the front desk. Just keep that in mind and be sure to book in advance.
Keep in mind that your faves want your feedback on pre-booking and check-ins. John and Sierra Tarkington of Threshold Climbing and Fitness in Oklahoma City re-defined how their climbing gym operates, including pre-booking and creating zones for the climbing areas of the gym—all based on feedback from members. “We got really lucky and received stellar feedback for this first week of being open to our members—because we were able to think through a lot of those details.”
Let’s no sugarcoat it, okay. We’re all adults here. Regardless of what you think about all of this, there’s a chance that a second wave of COVID-19 may be coming. While that is less than ideal, the silver lining here is your studios are now very much more prepared for it to hit, as are you.
“Now that we know what to do during a temporary closure, we have a plan in place if we need to do it again,” McAlister says. “We really hope that doesn’t happen but we’re ready—and hope our clients are too—if it does.”
You now know what works and what doesn’t, as do your fitness studios, when you’re forced to shelter-in-place, and they are forced to temporarily closing and reopening your business. Hey, we might not need to plan for this at all! Wouldn’t that be good? But, just in case, do plan. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
It seems like we’re all starting to reintroduce ourselves to the “real world,” whatever that means anymore. Whether you’re diving headfirst into your routines and chomping at the bit to get back to the studio, or are dipping one toe in at a time and taking baby steps back out into society, there’s no wrong way to do it.
Just remember some key things:
• Be patient
• Keep your distance and be respectful of others
• Show your studios some extra love
• Be well!
Let’s do this.
BONUS: If you’re a studio looking to reopen but need a little help, check out this free resource - Reboot Kit: How to Reopen Your Fitness Business Post COVID-19.
Tipping. While it can be a taboo topic that no one really wants to talk about publicly, the fact is, it’s a very important one that shouldn’t (and can’t) be avoided. This is all too true, especially now, when it comes to beauty services. Even before, “all of this” happened, there appeared to be some ambiguity about exactly how much to tip, when, what’s a respectable amount, and why. Now that we’ve tried our best at #homebeauty, it’s time to head back to the salons, spas, and other boutique beauty businesses (if you haven’t already). We’re here to guide you through gratuity in the new normal and why tipping a little extra to show your stylists and service providers you care during this tough time is the right thing to do.
To make sure we get you all the right answers, we asked around about it (so you don’t have to). Turns out, our Instagram followers had a lot to say about how to tip your stylists and show them some extra love right now.
Here’s what you think:
79% of you said you’ve been tipping more for beauty services recently. We’re all so grateful for our stylists—with split ends, grown-out roots, out-of-control brows, and terrible home-cut bangs to prove it. And now that many of us can return to our salons and spas, we’re appreciating the ones who help us feel beautiful even more right now.
We got a range of responses to this question. Some said they tip 5% more than they previously did, and many said 25%-35% total! Not only are these stylists actual artists, but they’re providing services we just can’t do ourselves. On top of that, many had to close their doors for several months, many were displaced as their salons shut down for good, and all of them are trying their best to get back to a sense of normalcy and do what they do best—help us look and feel beautiful. So, take this as a guide. Tip what you can but remember how much these wonderful people do for us.
When it comes to trying new services, 69% of you gave it a big fat NO, while 31% remain intrigued. It makes sense that many would stick to their go-tos right now, as salons are just starting to reopen in some areas or may not be open yet at all.
Depending on where you live and your overall health, you might be sticking with the bare minimum for now. But if your city has put in place safe reopening guidelines and measures, and you feel ready to head back out there, you can do so safely at a Mindbody salon. And you may be interested in trying out some new services right now as a way to show your local salons some extra support. If that’s you, browse beauty on the Mindbody app—and filter your categories to find out what’s out there.
Another way you can support your stylists right now? Shopping. It’s the safest way to show them some love without actually going in for a treatment. Many salons offer pre-payment on the Mindbody app and curbside pickup or a plethora of shipping methods, so you can keep contact to a minimum as much as possible. Plus, they have some pretty great stuff. If you need to invest in a good shampoo—especially because you haven’t gotten your hair done in months—so why not buy it from your stylist? According to our poll, it’s a pretty even split. 55% of you haven’t bought any products yet, while the other 45% have been shopping away. If you’re part of that 55, consider checking out your salon’s product offerings (you might see something you like).
Finally, we asked you all open-endedly how else you’re supporting your stylists right now. We got a lot of great answers. There was a lot of overlap, but we thought you might like to see some of the ones that stood out. So, if we didn’t cover it all so far, we’re about to—because you all are awesome and you did it for us. Here are some of the great ideas you had:
• “Paying in advance!”
• “Being more diligent about scheduling appointments versus letting my hair grow out”
• “Referring friends!”
• “Being flexible” (this is a good one—check out the 5 things your stylist wants you to know before you book)
• “Scheduling my next cut before I leave!”
• “Sharing their photos on Instagram and telling friends!”
So, if you’re a stylist reading this, thank you. We all want to continue showing you support during this time and beyond. And if you’re a regular person like me who really needs her highlights done, just schedule the damn appointment already (if you feel comfortable) or buy some purple shampoo from your favorite salon.