What The New Coronavirus Tier System Means For Health Clubs & Gyms

Gyms across England are opening again from the 2nd December. In place of national lockdown, England will be reverting to a new 3 tier system, where different restrictions will be in place depending on where you live.

Gym owners will be keenly aware that while gyms will be open across all tiers, there will be different standards and rules expected from gyms depending on which tier they are in.

From our talks with gym owners across England, it’s obvious that the government guidelines are far from crystal clear. So whatever tier you are currently in, we want to give you some more clarity on what you need to do in each tier, in order to keep moving forward as a business during this period.

 

What Are The Rules For My Gym In Tier 1?

Tier 1 area rules apply to less than 1% of the English population, so if you’re fortunate to find yourself operating a facility under tier 1 restrictions, then you have a fairly straightforward time ahead, provided you remain in this tier.

 

The Government Guidance:

 

Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place – if the rule of six is followed.

 

Ashbourne’s Take On The Guidance:

 

Running your gym can go about as business as usual for yourself and your members. While you should still implement the social distancing practices and cleaning regimes that you implemented during the first lockdown, for the most part your gym can operate as normal. Socialising between multiple households can still occur in the gym, but as per the rule of six, groups must be kept to 6 or below.

 

What Are The Rules For My Gym In Tier 2?

Over 56% of the population will be in a Tier 2 area, so it’s highly likely that this will the rules that your gym will have to subscribe to. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the rules are stricter than Tier 1, however, the good news is that it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before the most recent lockdown.

Government guidance: ‘Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be allowed if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with).’
Our take: Within this tier, the gym floor can largely operate as normal but, again, with the cleaning and distancing measures you will likely have already implemented after lockdown 1.
Group exercise classes are still permitted within this tier but additional efforts should be made to avoid mixing. Avoid members socialising post class, keep a 2 metre distance during class and clean all touch points in between sessions.

 

The Government Guidance:

 

Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be allowed if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with).

 

Ashbourne’s Take On The Guidance:

 

Running your gym will be very much like the rules following the first UK lockdown. While you will be able to run all of your regular classes and sport activities, socialising must be far more restricted and social distancing of 2 metres must be stuck to at all times. Outside of making sure members are keeping to social distancing, you should also keep up your regular cleaning regime that you established after the first lockdown, as well as providing ample santisation areas for your members throughout your facility.

 

What Are The Rules For My Gym In Tier 3?

It won’t surprise anyone that if you are in a Tier 3 area then you will be subject to the tighest regulations and rules. While Tier 3 is the highest tier level, a sizable proportion of the population will be subject to it, so there’s a good chance that your gym may very well be subject to tier 3 rules.

Our take: The good news is that gyms in this tier are allowed to stay open. However, group exercise classes are not permitted. Given that gyms are still open here, there is plenty of space to improvise with your offering. A few ideas:

 

The Government Guidance:

 

Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead.

 

Ashbourne’s Take On The Guidance:

 

The good news to take away from all this is that your club will be allowed to remain open. However, group activities such as classes and indoor sporting activities will not be allowed to take place. The only part of your gym which should be open to members are the regular exercise equipment. However, this doesn’t mean that you still can’t be creative with what you have to offer…

 

How To Make The Most From Your Club?

Whichever tier you might find yourself in, there are plenty of ways to still maximise the value you can get from your club and increase your offerings to your members, even with the potentially harsh restrictions.

 

  • Change Your Layout – What was once a studio space, could now be used as a functional training zone. Use tape to mark out distanced work stations and open up your studio to members.

 

  • Shift Your Focus – Instead of group classes, offer a programme of 1 to 1 training sessions. Now could be a good time to increase your personal training uptake.

 

 

For all those reopening on Wednesday, good luck and keep fighting the good fight to keep our clubs open!

As always, if you have any questions then please do get in touch with the team.

Best regards,

The Ashbourne Team

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