As you probably know, Yoga studios throughout all of Florida will be allowed to open on Monday, May 18th at fifty percent capacity. Details are here: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/05/15/ron-desantis-gyms-will-reopen-starting-monday/
I know many studio owners are allowing more time to prepare for this opening- deciding on protocols, gathering necessary supplies and re-working classes among other things. Please let me know about your opening dates so that FYTA can promote you on social media- or you can post your Open House event on our website. Just login and visit the Members’ Only Page for instructions.
I want to share with you a guidebook on best opening practices from Yoga Alliance:
Some key points include:
- The need to modify how you did things before the pandemic, either by relying more heavily on virtual classes or by altering the configurations of your space or the size of your training or classes. You might need to obtain new or different equipment or implement a new disinfection and cleaning regimen.
- The need to communicate with your staff, teachers, volunteers, students, and other patrons. For many yoga professionals and businesses, we imagine that this may mean that you may want to consider a phased approach to re-opening your business that allows you to grow into your old practices and some new ones, over time. While we understand the serious economic and social toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge yoga schools, businesses, and professionals to be realistic about their capacity and capability to re-open and quickly resume operations safely. It is likely that many yoga businesses will not be able to readily implement some or all of the health and protective measures that will be critical to protecting each other and our communities.
- Components of an Operations Plan When you decide to re-open which should account for all aspects of your school, business, or practice, including those related to:
- Studio, worksite, or practice space cleaning and sanitation protocols
- Implementation of protective measures to promote employee and public safety, including temperature checks and social distancing protocols
- Structure of classes or practice that take place in person
- Management of reception, boutique, and bathroom spaces to limit surface contact
- Staff leave policies
- Continuity of operations if staff or teachers cannot come to work
- Provision of protective equipment and the availability of handwashing and sanitation stations
- Training for staff and teachers and communication with students and the public
- Incident response protocols in the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case
- Incident response protocols in the event of non-compliant students or practitioners
- Maximum class size and duration
- Space configuration to maintain 6 feet social distancing
- Rules preventing or regarding hands-on adjustments or other touching
- Pre-class health screening of employees and students (e.g., taking one’s temperature)
- Pre- and post-class cleaning regimens
- Face-covering rules
- Rules on the use of mats brought from home and on the sharing of mats
- Rules restricting or limiting the use of blocks, blankets, straps, and any other communal equipment
- Personal protective equipment requirements for teachers and students
- Rules on the use of facilities including lockers, changing rooms, bathroom, and showers as well as the storage of personal belongings during class(es).
- Ask Screening Questions: When individuals—staff, teachers, volunteers, students, or practitioners—arrive, ask questions of each person: have you had a cough? Have you had a fever? Do you live with anyone who is sick or quarantined? If anyone answers affirmatively, send them home.
- Require Face Coverings: The CDC has recommended that all individuals wear cloth face masks in public and areas where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain in order to protect themselves and those around them. According to recent reports, roughly 25 percent of people with coronavirus are thought to be asymptomatic, and people who contract COVID-19 usually don’t develop symptoms until four or five days after being infected. Require teachers, students, and practitioners to wear protective masks at all times when not in yoga practice; encourage them to wear them to the extent possible while in practice. Consider providing masks to all students and practitioners. Sanitize all reusable masks regularly and between each use.
- Provide Advance Notifications: Inform students that they should not sign-up or come to the studio/class if they have a cough, are running a fever, or have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Promote (and Require) Hand Washing and Good Hygiene: Require staff and volunteers to hand wash with soap and warm water for a minimum of twenty (20) seconds before and after every registration period. Require teachers to hand wash with soap and warm water for a minimum of twenty (20) seconds before and after every class. Hang signs and encourage all students and practitioners to practice hand washing best practices. Post signs in each bathroom and around the studio with respect to cough-and-sneeze etiquette (cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and then throwing it away, using upper sleeve if a tissue is not available, refraining from touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, etc.). Make tissues available to the extent possible.
I know there is so much to think about here, but once you do set a plan, it is important to make sure that you implement it consistently and effectively. Failure to do so could lead to injuries, illness, or even potential liability. Consider how you will implement your operations plan. It may be helpful to develop written policies and procedures that govern how you will handle certain situations or accomplish specific tasks. It will also be helpful to post signage, both on site and online, to instruct and set expectations for staff, teachers, students, and other patrons in your school, studio, and/or other physical location.
Please visit Yoga Alliance’s COVID-19 Resources Website for information on business and financial support, including guidance for transitioning your school, business, and/or teaching online.
Also note that FYTA is here to support and promote you- especially during this unprecedented time!
Take care and be safe.