Your Studio Re-Opening Checklist

We hope you are healthy and safe, and you are hanging in there as a business owner.  For us we are officially in week 10 of shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 Some things have become routine – like creating our virtual classes and offering online personal training, but there is still a familiar rhythm lacking - and that is of going into the studio each and every day. 

Which brings us to the stress du jour – how and when do we re-open and when will it actually be safe to do so?

This one thought has been on our mind for weeks, and we still aren’t quite sure when we will be able to return to seeing clients in the studio. But we know that now is the time to start thinking, planning and communicating with both our team and our clients so we can all be on the same page when the time comes. 

As you know… everything is different now and businesses across the world are having to figure out a new way of doing things. And that is true for us as studio owners too – whether you have a small studio or a large gym we all have a responsibility to keep our communities as safe as possible.

We know you’ve probably been thinking about this too, and because we know “many hands make light work” and we can all benefit from shared information here is how we are planning for our studio re-open. There are tons of resources below for you to swipe and implement in your studio. We’ve done the heavy lifting so you can save time and energy and focus on what matters most right now.


  • Ordered Masks – Once we re-open we will require our team members to wear masks during their training appointments. We had some masks custom-made (courtesy of Jessica’s Aunt Connie who has been tirelessly churning out these masks for those who need them). We also purchased disposable masks to have on hand for clients or when the cloth ones are in the laundry.
  • Heightened Cleaning – When the pandemic started we went on a major cost-cutting initiative, and it seemed a bit silly to have our cleaners come on their regular schedule when we were closed. BUT, we are still having our crew come 2x/week to wipe down surfaces and give a thorough cleaning. We still have some trainers stopping by the studio to meet virtually with their clients, and we go in to record our virtual workouts each week so we have decided to keep the cleaning procedures going even during shutdown. We will be reviewing our expectations with our cleaning crew prior to opening.
  • Weekly TEAM Meeting – Each week we meet virtually with our team via Zoom – at our regularly scheduled time. Some weeks we have a lot to talk about and some weeks it’s just a check in. But meeting regularly with them is the ONLY way to stay in communication with them and convey our expectations. We will spend our next few meetings talking about the re-opening studio flow and how we will maintain safety for everyone.
  • Weekly Client Communication – Each week we send an email to all clients so we can stay in community with them. Since we are unable to see each other we have found this weekly check-in email to our client list to be a constant that allows us to stay connected with the larger community. In this weekly email we share updates, workouts, educational content or simply just some motivation. Our goal is to stay top of mind and to be their health and wellness support system.

Pre-Opening Checklist

  • Create Policies & Procedures – The best time to know your game plan is before the game starts. And that is why we are investing a lot of time to outline our policies and procedures. Here’s a document of our notes and brainstorms. Feel free to adapt to your needs.
  • Organize the Studio for Social Distancing – Prior to the pandemic we used to share weights and equipment and work in for various sets. We have decided to create “pods” where the trainer and client go to a specific area and try to stay there as much as possible throughout the workout. If they need to access shared equipment like the squat rack or sled (something we only have one of 2 of) then we will wipe that piece of equipment down after each use. Additionally, we are limiting the studio to only 6 trainers and 6 clients at a time so we can maintain social distance.
  • Client Liability Forms – We are updating our client liability forms and ensuring that every client signs a Covid-19 amendment form. Here’s a copy for you to swipe and implement for you studio.
  • Follow Guidelines – We will be following all state and local guidelines for when we are allowed to open. And we are using this CDC checklist as a guide to help make the decision.
  • Clear Signage – We are posting signage that reminds clients to maintain social distance and adhere to universal precautions in regards to handwashing and hygiene.
  • Remove All High Touch Materials – We have removed all magazines and organized the front desk to reduce the amount of contact. For example, we will allow one-time use of pens and then move them to a container where they will have to be cleaned prior to use.
  • Be Prepared to Close Down – We are no entering what some are calling the “dance” phase of this pandemic – meaning we have to put all these protocols in place, be vigilant with them and then be prepared to pivot and make changes. If there is a confirmed case within our studio we will be prepared to shut down again, thoroughly clean the studio and make a decision about when to re-open.
  • Offer a Hybrid Model – As we noted at the beginning – times are just different which means our clients all have their reasons for how and when they re-start in studio exercise. We will continue offering a hybrid model where we can virtually train those clients who are high risk or who prefer not to come to the studio at this time. Additionally, we will not be bringing our group classes back right away. We have a good system with our virtual model, and we intend to maintain that service virtually for the foreseeable future. It allows us to minimize numbers in the studio and focus on our core business model of personal training.

As with all things, this list is not exhaustive, and we’re sure to find some holes as we start to implement these new protocols. We know there will be some hiccups along the way, but we also know that with clear expectations, over-communication and systematic procedures we can ensure that we make as smooth as process as possible.

So what’s happening in your local area? Are you ready and able to open? What challenges are your facing and how can we help? Post your thoughts in the comments or reach out to us at [email protected] and let’s make a game plan together.

As we said, many hands do make light work so let’s lean into community and help one another as we transition back to serving our clients in person. 

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