Mask On, Mask Off: What Every Gym Owner and Operator Needs to Know About Changing Masking Policies

Club owners have had to make incredible adjustments this last year, ranging from capacity limits to mandatory closings. Mask mandates have been a hot topic in the industry as concerns arise over comfort and safety from members. 

Fitness professionals don’t want to be seen as the “mask police” but also have a duty to help keep their gyms and their patrons safe. Masks have become somewhat a point of contention in some circles. The risks of not masking up include outbreaks, member loss due to personal safety concerns and non-compliance to laws depending on your state city’s ordinances. All of these can result in closure in extreme cases. Despite these risks, not everyone wants to wear a mask at the gym and this likely could also cause member loss.

But what do the actual numbers say about what people want regarding mask policies?

According to MXM’s data, masking policies in gyms have overwhelming support. Between 95 and 96% of gym goers want a mask policy and appreciate the enforcement of it. 

Despite states opening up and some lifting mask mandates entirely, Blair cautions gym operators to be mindful of when and how to lift their own mandates. The key is communication. What are your members' expectations of the mask policy? A sudden change could warrant an upset in your current customer base and result in unease with attendance without communication of process and reasoning.

As we all navigate our changing world and our new norms, club owners will need to be mindful of how they have been marketing the mask policy at their gyms and how that conversation will need to evolve. Communication, as per usual, is key. 

Keep your club members informed when policies will be changing and make adjustments to rules incrementally. It’s also very important for you to stay informed about where your members stand on mask policies. Make sure that as you are adjusting policies you are watching member experience data closely, lifting restrictions in accordance to people’s evolving comfort levels. Remember: it was an issue getting the masks on to begin with. Getting them to come off will also be an issue.

Once the masks are off, it will likely improve your members performance without the nuisances of the mask. As people begin to see each other's faces and reconnect again, it will positively affect morale. This correlates to better member experiences. Better member experiences win your members’ trust and loyalty. See the original article on Club Solutions site.

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