On behalf of one of Jakarta’s leading fitness centres, Evolution Wellness, David Prosser tells NOW! Jakarta about how the industry is faring and the brand’s reopening protocols.
Evolution Wellness runs the most prominent and highest-profile fitness centers in Jakarta, what have you been doing since the Covid-19 crisis began?
Since we became aware of the Covid-19 situation we had to very quickly adapt our risk management protocols to protect staff and members from the outbreak. We revised our operating procedures and retrained staff implementing health declarations, mandatory temperature checks, sanitization stations, social distancing measures and reduction of class capacities. All these were done prior to the closure of our clubs in March.
Our communications strategy then shifted towards ensuring all the safety protocols were widely understood and followed.
Presumably you had to close all operations during this time? What have you done with your many highly qualified instructors?
Yes, we had to close all operations on 23 March and immediately suspended all membership billing to be fair to our fans. With enforced work from home procedures in place, we undertook a comprehensive program of online learning and training for all departments, maintaining a very high level of staff engagement and team spirit despite the extraordinary circumstances.
For our members, we launched our home workouts on-line through our vast pool of talented instructors. Our pre-recorded content has been released through social media under the banner of Home Sweat Home, featuring our various signature classes offering cardio, strength, dance and yoga experiences. With an average of three workouts per day available free to members and non-members, we reached a staggering 3.2 million people.
With this success we have also added live classes every week with the additional flavours of instructor engagement, Q&A sessions and live tips.
What are you doing to minimize the risk and the exposure and reassure your members?
We have activated new protocols to facilitate practice of social distancing and overall hygiene. Which have been inspected and approved by the local authorities. Here are our four new safety protocols aimed at protecting our members and staff:
Gym Floor Access and Group Fitness Class Bookings
To achieve a consistent management of physical distancing, we regulate club’s maximum attendance to 50% capacity primarily by moving class registrations to online booking.
All members must now download their respective Celebrity Fitness or Fitness First mobile app from App Store or Google Play Store to make bookings for slots in group classes or gym visits (for members who do their own workout or for those who engage in Personal Training sessions).
We are now introducing member challenges with rewards to recognize those members leading the most active lifestyle
After booking through mobile app, members can visit the club and expect to see the new onsite physical distancing protocols.
All members are required to maintain a minimum distance of two metres from each other in workout studios and 1.5 metres from each other in all other areas inside the club. They are also advised to eliminate social activities like buddy workouts as well as close-contact group photo-taking sessions.
The studios have been installed with floor markings to assign individual zones for members to use in group classes. Certain equipment like treadmills and bikes are rearranged so members only use alternate equipment during training.
Physical distancing measures apply not just in the training zones but also inside the locker room where only alternate locker units are available for use.
All members, staffs and guests must take a temperature test at the club’s reception, where the test officer will advise anyone with temperature reading of more than 37.30C, which is the government- mandated temperature for a healthy body, to seek medical attention
To minimize contact during the exchange of membership cards at the club’s entrance, members will now perform self-check-in by tapping their card on a digital reader. They are also required to sign a health declaration form to confirm that they are in good state of health, free of COVID-19 symptoms and ready to follow all of the club’s new protocols.
In addition, members are advised to bring their own towel as well as previously-shared fitness gears such as yoga mat, yoga hammock, boxing gloves and suspension equipment.
Club Interior and Equipment Hygiene
Before our club reopens, full sanitation assessment of electrical, mechanical, water flow, air- conditioning as well as air filtration system has been carried out to ensure that everything is in prime condition.
The club’s new protocol calls for disciplined equipment hygiene precautions in which both the staff and members must clean the equipment before and after use with provided disinfectant sprayers. The staff will also make sure that all workout studios are cleaned in between classes.
Some facilities, however, will not be open for use. While we want members to enjoy the full gym experience, we have decided that for members’ safety, all saunas, steam rooms and swimming pools will be closed temporarily until further notice.
What do you think the “new normal” will be for fitness centres after this? Will it all change?
Cleanliness and safety have become top priorities in the new normal and will remain that way forever.
We have always been committed to a high standard of cleanliness and this transition to the new normal is quite a smooth process for our team. We feel that the new measures are confirming our position as the trusted fitness brands in Indonesia.
We believe members’ enthusiasm for fitness will remain high for plenty of reasons. The most obvious one is that the few months of lockdown have left a long period of yearning for a good old gym workout. The data does suggest many people are enjoying our online classes, but working out in our gym with the equipment and upbeat vibe offers more options as well as that little extra boost of energy that everyone is craving for.
In addition, the pandemic has caused more people to consider developing stronger immunity to stay healthy. Professor Zhen Yan at University of Virginia has discovered that the enzyme EcSOD can help fight against COVID-19 symptoms and he is looking to synthesize a cure based on this finding (https://news.virginia.edu/content/exercise-may-protect-against-deadly-covid-19-complication- research-suggests). Imagine being able to generate this antibody merely by exercising.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 outbreak has caught us all by surprise and the future will now belong to those businesses that adapt and innovate whilst preparing carefully for any future storms.