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3 Types Of COVID-19 Fitness Studio Owners… Which One Are You?

Mike Arce

Mike Arce

This pandemic has flipped the fitness industry upside down. Everyone has opinions about what to do during Coronavirus with their fitness business and their members, but now that the option to reopen has come up, those gaps in opinion widened…

Now, initially, this article is going to sound pretty harsh but please, stick with me until the end and you’ll not only see where I’m coming from, but that I fully understand and sympathize with where you’re coming from. This isn’t about calling studio owners out… it’s about bringing studio owners together for a common cause:

What’s best for our members and our communities.

So, where do you stand? Then, let’s see where we can agree… or, agree to disagree. That’s OK too!

Fitness Studio Owner #1 – Hates Me If I Say Open Your Studio As Soon As You’re Allowed To

First, I understand the fear here. However, I don’t think it’s quite the right attitude. We don’t have the answers and to assume we know for sure that nobody should go back to work, or at least, criticizing people and business owners who think it’s safe to go back is a bit rough.

I personally wouldn’t send my team back to the office just yet. But that’s my personal opinion. Who am I to force a barber to stay closed for another month or two? Maybe he’s put very strict Coronavirus protections in place so that he can at least bring some money in. I don’t know. And, really…

None of us know, right? Here’s the other side of this coin… 

Fitness Studio Owner #2 – Hates Me If I Say Wait Until The COVID-19 Curve Flattens Out Everywhere

If you read I personally wouldn’t send my team back to the office just yet above and you were triggered, you’re probably in Group #2. If you think your business is good to go because your Governor said to reopen, more power too you! However, here’s why I’m writing this…

It’s important that your purpose for reopening, your priorities, are in the right place. 

> If you’re doing so to make money as fast as possible, well I don’t think that’s a great strategy — especially if this thing spreads again. Who wants to be the studio responsible for NOT acting responsibly when it comes to the well being of their members and community?

> If you’re reopening because you’re afraid your landlord will kick you out — after all, the Governor said to reopen, which means you should reopen, which means if you don’t we can evict you — that’s totally understandable but there’s no need to let them bully you here. As we mentioned on Episode 79 of this COVID-19 Updates for Fitness Studios Podcast, it’s best to get with a legal team, check your lease agreement, or contact Ty tbrewster@keyserco.com or Rocco rf@keyserco.com of Keyser to get some advice first.

> If you’re reopening in a way that has limited, social distancing class sizes, longer time periods between classes to properly disinfect everything, etc. to keep members safe and make sure you’re stopping the spread of Coronavirus, then I personally think that’s the best way to reopen your fitness business.

But, knowing that it might not be what’s best for another business, another studio, or, maybe it’s just not something another business owner is willing to do, that has to be ok as well. It’s a difference in opinion. That’s all.

In other words, let’s keep opinions and outrage at bay and do our best to help each other out, keep our members safe, keep our businesses going, all while stopping the spread as best we can. 

Fitness Studio Owner #3 – Says They Don’t Know And Would Like More Insight And Information Before Deciding

This is actually where I’m at too. I can’t advise you to reopen or NOT reopen. But, here are my thoughts with where we’re at with this crazy Coronavirus… 

This pandemic has been so costly to people’s lives and livelihoods. I think it’s best to know for sure if we can reopen fully. I think it’s best to know for sure if we should wait a bit. Maybe it’s just me, but since my team is able to work from home, I’d rather they do that until it’s more official… and safe.

That’s not at all to downplay the power of an in-studio fitness studio — believe me, I get it! It’s why Loud Rumor exists! I just think the best way to preserve that power is by taking the proper precautions and safety measures. That’s all. I’d never tell you NOT to reopen anymore than I’d tell you OPEN NOW.

Another thing to keep in mind: It’s very likely that, even when your doors reopen, people don’t come in. People are still keeping their distance and staying home — again, until they have better answers. BUT, one thing we know for sure, people are LOVING at-home fitness. Especially if it’s LIVE.

There are still too many questions out there about all of this. Yes, we need to get the economy going again. Yes, businesses and employees need the ability to get back to work. However, what good is doing all of that if we end up right back in the same spot because we didn’t have all of the answers? Ok… maybe not ALL of the answers, but at least better ones based on expertise and data.

I’m normally all about acting and acting fast. The only reason I’m advocating for making absolutely sure it’s the right decision is that you have another, revenue-generating option that members are loving already in play with virtual, at-home workouts. So. maybe a soft, safety-first reopening is the right move.

And again, that’s just where I’m at and I know there are a lot of fitness studio owners in this camp as well. The point is, let’s respect opinions, hear each other out, and maybe we can come up with a solution that works for all fitness studios. Maybe we can come up with a solution that doesn’t rely on a “Yes” or “No” from a Governor. These are our businesses. We get to decide what’s best and what action we take moving forward.

Let’s GSD!