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How to Manage Your Fitness Studio in the Time of Coronavirus

By Lauren McAlister

This information contained herein does not constitute medical, financial, legal, or other professional advice and is meant to be used solely for informational purposes. It does not take into account your specific circumstances and should be not acted on without full understanding of your current situation, future goals and/or objectives by a qualified professional. MINDBODY, Inc. assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. 

It's likely your community is either in the midst of a COVID-19, or coronavirus, outbreak, or you’re actively taking steps to prepare in case it does reach your community. To make sure you’re updated on the status of the coronavirus, look to the World Health Organization and/or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) daily.  

In the spirit of minimizing disruption to your clients' lives and your business, you’ll want to put a plan in place to keep your fitness or gym safe. 

Here are a few best practices.  

If you're still open:

Upgrade your cleaning procedures 

It’s likely you already prioritize the cleanliness of your fitness studio or gym, but now's the time to take extra precautionary measures to keep your clients healthy and safe from COVID-19.   

Keeping your studio or gym squeaky clean is important—especially during a pandemic. 

This includes having:   

  • Tissues readily available  

  • Hand sanitizer throughout your facility  

  • Disposable wipes for both employees and clients to use to wipe down commonly used surfaces (think yoga mats, free weights, ballet barres, etc.)   

  • Signs throughout your facility reminding clients of proper hygiene  

After each fitness class, make a point to thoroughly wipe down all equipment used—even if you encourage your clients to do so on their own—and deep clean your studio multiple times daily with an EPA-approved disinfectant.  

If you haven’t already, reduce your class offerings as well. This allows you to reduce capacity in your studio or gym and adds more time to do deep cleans between clients. If you’re a Mindbody customer, alerting customers of schedule changes is easy with auto-emails and texts. 

Switch up your workouts 

To follow proper “social distancing,” you’ll need to reduce the number of clients and staff members in your facility to less than ten at any given time. You need to allow for the recommended six feet of social distance between individuals in your gym or studio as well.   

You’ll also want to eliminate teamwork and partner-based workouts—which we normally support, by the way. For now, movements that require physical contact or are partner-based (i.e., hands-on yoga adjustments, partner sit-ups, wheelbarrows, and even high-fives) should go on the back burner in favor of exercises that can be performed alone. Avoid having clients use any fitness props for workouts in the meantime, too. 

This is also a perfect opportunity to dip your toes into video workouts. That way, clients concerned with protecting themselves and their families don’t need to leave their homes to take part in your community and get their fitness on. Here’s how to start live streaming today.  

Prefer more polished footage? Record, edit, and add to Mindbody's video libraryHere are a few expert tips for filming pre-recorded workout videos.  

Check in with your staff 

First and foremost, encourage any staff members who are sick to stay home. Now’s not the time to chance having a sick instructor or front-desk person in your studio. It's essential to keep your staff healthy.   

For those employees who are under the weather, or prefer to stay home during this time of COVID-19 to err on the side of caution, you’ll want a back-up plan and plenty of coverage for your classes (we recommend having multiple instructors on call for each class offering on your schedule. Put an instructor substitution process in place.  

For those who do clock in, be sure to inform them of your heightened cleaning procedures, social distancing requirements, and modified workouts (remember, no partner-based exercises).   

Reiterate how important it is for each employee to:   

  • Wash their hands before and after class  

  • Cough into their arms, rather than out in the open  

  • Minimize hands-on adjustments as much as possible  

  • Disinfect every piece of equipment used during a workout  

To communicate these updates, send an email, let them know in-person, and consider putting up a poster in your staff break room as a continued reminder of your COVID-19 precautions.   

If you do have to close your facility, assign a process for your staff to give you updates on their status. A group text or group Facebook message or regular virtual meetings can keep your team connected from afar.  

If you’ve temporarily closed: 

You’ve taken the precautions above—but what happens you’ve had to close your studio?   

Communication is key.   

Make sure you have accurate and up-to-date contact information for all customers. This makes it easier to communicate updates and direction regarding how the virus is impacting your business, including opening hours and the status of your location(s). If you’re a Mindbody customer, it’s easy to "Schedule a Closed Business Day” within your software (under Manager Tools) that will be displayed on your client-facing schedule.  

Next, use your email platform to send an all-studio update or, if you have a branded mobile app, a push notification to all your clients.   

If you rely on a landline phone at your studio, forward those calls to a mobile number as a back-up so you won’t miss them if you need to be away from your facility.   

Also, use your social media pages to give customers updates on your studio, opening hours, and staff. They'll want to know how you’re doing and when they can expect to access your services again.  

For more tips on how gyms and fitness studios like yours are handling the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities, check out this blog post.   

This is an uncertain time, but an opportunity to come together as a fitness community. Remember that you’re not alone. In Mindbody One, there are thousands of fitness business owners just like you.  

Join the community. 


About the author:

Lauren McAlister

Marketing Content Specialist


Lauren is the co-owner of a fitness studio and a certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant. Born and raised in California, Lauren has a heart for working out, traveling, and baking paleo-ish treats for friends and family. She's also passionate about crafting meaningful content for others in the wellness space, which makes her role at Mindbody a perfect fit.


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