To the entire Alchemy Family,
Let’s start by painting a picture of our destination – a world that looks, feels, and functions similarly to the world we left behind eight weeks ago. At Alchemy, that means thousands of athletes per week coming and going to our studios freely; checking in, working out hard, sharing a high five with friends and doing so with confidence that they aren’t jeopardizing anybody’s health. Right now, that outcome seems a bit more like fantasy than reality, but I believe we’re going to get there.
If, and only if, we handle the next stretch of time with the same care that went into our policy changes over the last two months. We’re in the final stretch, and we need to finish this the right way, and we need to do it together.
In the last few days, you’ve probably heard murmurings that an easing of Minnesota and Colorado’s “shelter in place” order may begin somewhat soon. As exciting as it is, we know that further extensions to the order may go into effect for the greater good of our communities, and the people who live in them. We’re prepared to play our part in the solution.
However, our planning for a slow return to the studio has been underway for weeks and this message is meant to shed some light on how we at Alchemy are choosing to handle things if, and when we are given the “green light” to bring athletes back into our studios.
We’ve organized a phased approach designed to reconcile a number of variables in the best possible way. We know some are excited to return and others need more time. We know some want to keep their Torpedo to enjoy Alchemy Anywhere for a while longer. We know our operational cadence needs updating for the health and safety of our staff and customers and we know there are some psychological hurdles that many of us will need to ease ourselves over before we’re comfortable in public once again.
Hopefully, with this plan we can address all of these issues and play a strong leadership role as we all come back from this terrible, worldwide health crisis. I want to apologize for the length of this message in advance – but I felt that I’d rather have our members feel they have too much information, than be concerned and confused by a lack there of.
Phase 1 – Estimated Start Date: 05/4/20, Duration: 1 week
This next week, we’re going to be taking advantage of having our studios closed for some minor updates to each facility. Simple things like paint touch-ups, and reorganization will have studios feeling like new when we get back into them. Our remaining equipment, our floor matting, the various handles and knobs from doors and faucets will be scrubbed and sanitized for a clean, fresh start.
Phase 2 – Estimated Start Date: 05/18/20, Duration: 1 week
Nobody is more excited to get back into our studios than we are, but even when the stay-at-home order is lifted, we feel like the right thing to do is to open up a schedule of outdoor classes for our athletes to enjoy rather than bringing athletes back into the studio immediately. Doing so will allow us all to rebuild the habit of joining their friends in a public setting for exercise while still allowing for maximum space and appropriate social distance.
Our Alchemy Anywhere experience will continue onward via Instagram Live, and YouTube for those that prefer to continue their training digitally. But for those interested in joining their community members for workouts together:
- We’ll be running outdoor classes each day, on a consistent schedule, at consistent locations (to be shared in coming weeks).
- These class sizes will be limited and for active members only. Pre-registration on MindBody Online will be required to help us manage numbers and track who attended classes.
- We’ll be organizing our outdoor space in such a way that allows athletes more than enough distance between one another per the social distancing recommendations from the CDC.
- The workouts will be a blend of bodyweight and Torpedo workouts. On days that call for a Torpedo, we ask that athletes bring their rented Torpedo to the workout so they don’t have to worry about sharing any equipment.
- Athletes should plan to bring their own mat, and antibacterial wipes will be provided for athletes to use after every class.
Thus, through Phase 2 people loving their Alchemy Anywhere experience can continue undisturbed and for those who are ready, we can start to rebuild the psychological habit of meeting up and working out with each other once again.
Phase 3 – Estimated Start Date: 05/25/20, Duration: 2 weeks
When we reopen our studios, we’re going to take extreme measures to ensure your safety. Phase three is all about how we can best handle bringing athletes back into our physical spaces for class. For AT LEAST the first two weeks of operations:
- We’ll be managing the check in process for class so there is no physical contact with staff or any ipad.
- Doors to the training space will be kept open to avoid any repeated surface contact.
- Athletes will be encouraged to change into gym shoes before they train.
- No towels will be provided to avoid any spreading of germs in the studio.
- We’ll be running body-weight only classes in our studio so that no equipment is shared or handled by staff and athletes.
- Our class schedule will be spread out so there is no churn time in the lobby between classes i.e. we’ll be blocking approximately 90-minutes between each class so we can clean and to ensure no athletes leaving the studio are exposed to the athletes coming in.
- Our rooms will be limited to a fraction of their capacity to ensure maximum distance between athletes.
- Coaches will not use any tactile cues or make any contact with athletes.
- Coaches will wear masks and utilize other PPE while coaching and athletes may do the same.
- Our intensified cleaning procedures will continue with an increase in frequency throughout the day.
- The Torpedo return process will be completed by the last day of Phase 3.
Thus, Phase 3 allows athletes and Alchemy staff to regain confidence being together in the studio without having to jeopardize their safety or well-being.
I think we can all agree that a complete return to the way things used to be is unlikely. COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on businesses and individuals alike not only because of the financial and economic strain it has caused, but in terms of how we gather and how we think about physical interactions with our surroundings. Alchemy is no exception.
In the coming weeks we will be implementing a number of “new normal” policies and procedures so that even when this crisis is past us, we continue to be a responsible leader in our community regarding cleanliness, health and safety.
Our team understands that no idea is a bad idea right now. No old operational practice is off limits. We’re proud of how we handled ourselves in the last two months but to be a true leader we mustn’t just go back to the way things used to be without question. We’ll be utilizing the CDC’s recommendations as well as individual state guidelines for reopening, and in most cases we’ll air on the conservative side. One way that you can help refine our efforts further is by submitting your own suggestions. We know there are companies out there innovating and implementing incredible policy changes that will help keep people healthy and even save lives. If you ever come across any of these tactics, consider sharing them directly with us via our CRUSHING COVID survey, where you can anonymously share any ideas you have for Alchemy.
A major part of this entire process will be how we handle it when we find out an athlete or staff member has contracted the virus. We all take a certain degree of risk any time we leave the house these days and while it’s not our place to tell individuals how to manage that risk, we want to be clear and transparent about our communication plan.
If an athlete or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, we ask that they alert the General Manager of their studio. Because we will be tracking attendance down to the person, we’ll immediately alert every single athlete who attended a class with the person infected by the virus, from the previous 14 days. You will not be left in the dark if such a situation arises and we are committed to continuing our track record of open, honest communication, even if it’s difficult.
Many of you have leaned in on Alchemy over the last few weeks as a bright light during a dark time. You can continue counting on us to do the right things for the right reasons as we come through this and as life resumes.
We’re not there yet, but it does feel like we may be turning a corner in this crisis. The last eight weeks have not only demonstrated, but proven the strength and resolve of the Alchemy community and if we hold on just a little longer, we truly will have come through this #togetherapart.
Alchemy 365 Co-Founder