We asked some of our Host and Licensed Training Centers around the world what measures they’ve put in place to safely accommodate clients as they reopen their studios, and how they’re adapting their businesses after being closed for several months due to COVID-19.
We discussed how they’re implementing new social distancing measures and cleaning protocols, communicating these changes to clients, and dealing with the pandemic’s impact on their businesses.
Here’s what they had to say.
Mor Bechor Pilates & TRX Studio, Host Training Center
Mor Bechor, Owner and Merrithew® Instructor Trainer
Hod HaSharon, Israel
Physical distancing accommodations: We’ve arranged our Reformers to allow for 6-feet of distance between each one, according to our local ministry of health guidelines and regulations for fitness facilities.
Keeping clients informed: We’ve informed clients of the following process via email. Before arriving, clients have to fill out a digital Coronavirus health assessment statement. They have to wear a mask and we’ll check their body temperature at the entrance, letting them into the studio one-by-one. They’ll use Septol and Alcogel before getting on their Reformer. Once on the Reformer, they’ll be able to take off their masks. If a client fails to fulfill a health statement or if their body temperature exceeds 37.5 degrees, they will not be able to participate.
How clients have responded: Most of our clients have decided to come back to the studio. Some are waiting a bit longer for different reasons. For example, they have small children at home and don’t have childcare, or because they are at high risk. And, unfortunately, I’ve also had some clients cancel their memberships. In the first two weeks, I continued to offer online classes to those who couldn’t come back to the studio, but today all classes are in studio.
Tips for other studio owners and instructors: It’s important to share the steps you’ve taken to safely reopen your studio with your clients, so they feel comfortable coming back and taking part in the new regulations. Lead by example; wait for them with a mask and wear it at all times, unless you’re exercising with them. Be there for them! Let them feel the magic in each and every Pilates class, so they will realize again how much their body missed this feeling.
Wicked Pilates, Host Training Center
Christina Bouni-Bonorris, Owner
Keeping clients safe: We’re taking the temperature of staff and members when they come into the studio and they must wear masks indoors, as is regulated by the California government. For Reformer Pilates, the masks don’t seem to be too much of a problem, but it’s more challenging for yoga. We’ve also considered putting see-through shower curtains between the Reformers as a low-cost barrier option.
Physical distancing accommodations: We’ve limited classes to six people and the Reformers are set up 6-feet apart. I also ordered the Merrithew Vinyl Strap Covers, which cover the Reformer Loops and are easier to clean. Clients love them and we’ve had really positive feedback.
Cleaning protocols: We’re asking people to sanitize their hands upon arrival and departure. The classes are now 45 minutes instead of 55 minutes to give staff enough time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the equipment. We’re requiring people to wear toe socks, but not gloves.
What they’re offering clients: We’re teaching three classes outside without masks— cardio, cycling and tone and strength, and we’ve started sometimes taking yoga and Mat Pilates outside as well. We teach three classes inside with masks— Reformer, Mat and yoga. Members love the outdoor classes and we’re considering keeping those going even after the pandemic is over.
Feedback from customers: Our community is eager to reconnect and reengage with one another at the studio, and that’s been very positive. This period of isolation has been tough on everyone, including us as a business. We lost about 64% of our business and haven’t received any break on rent. We’re not sure what the future holds.
Beauty Yoga & Pilates, Host Training Center
Remiya Ye, Owner
Keeping clients safe: Before reopening, we showcased our cleaning protocols on social media. We’re checking everyone’s temperature when they enter the studio and we also check their government-issued QR code, which tracks whether the person was in a high-risk zone and the results of their last test.
Impact on business: For five months, we didn’t turn a profit. We offered membership and class pack extensions to everyone. We also started running online classes. Once we were able to reopen, we started offering private sessions only. These did really well and exceeded our sales record from before the pandemic. In April, we started offering group classes again and provided free classes all April to thank clients for their loyalty.
Overcoming these challenges: I have full confidence in the Merrithew brand and system and I believe the STOTT PILATES® method can truly help people. What sets my studio apart in China is that we have world-class Merrithew equipment, industry-leading instructor training and a diversified range of high quality classes, from STOTT PILATES Reformer to Total Barre® and Halo® Training. As a result, we’ve had great success retaining old clients during this time and we’re even attracting new ones.
Personal learning: I didn’t know how strong I was and how well I’d be able to adapt to these very challenging and stressful circumstances. I devoted a lot of my energy and passion to this studio, to make it the place I’d dreamed of. One thing I have learned from the experience in this pandemic is that STOTT PILATES has granted me unlimited potential and confidence in being better and doing more great things in the future.
For more reopening resources, check out this section on our blog >