Are you ready for Physical Distancing and Contact Tracing?

Are you ready for Physical Distancing and Contact Tracing?

By Perry Tucciarone

Merchant Treasury Services

Technology will help keep your members and staff safe.


As our nation moves away from stay-at-home policies due to the COVID-19 crisis, fitness club operators need to be aware of evidently clear details when reopening. First, reopening your facility will be a gradual process. Reviewing details from public health and fitness industry experts, be forewarned it will not be like pushing a button to turn your business back on and picking up where you left off.

You will need to adapt to be ready to reopen. Plan for physical distancing being a fundamental change in the fitness industry. Be organized and prepared to start slow, gradually build and have a plan to play the long game to re-establish sustainability and growth.

Your plan must provide a safe environment for your members and staff to return to your facility. Your members and staff not only need to have a safe physical environment, but feel safe before they return. Technology can provide the tools critical to help administer the safest environment possible.

Use Technology when Executing your Reopening Plan

I know everyone is anxious to open and start exercising, however members will not enjoy waiting in line outside of your facility, as has been reported with recent club openings in B.C.. It is vital you have an online scheduling plan to help reduce member inconvenience while you control access and limit occupancy.

Access and Occupancy

Implementing physical distancing measures needs to be designed to adhere with your provincial health protocols and will be imperative once you reopen. Managing physical distancing would be next to impossible if members have uncontrolled access.

To facilitate this, set up your software’s scheduling module as follows:

  • Online reservation schedule for members to book their workout into selected time slots.
    • Incorporate occupancy limits to meet physical distancing protocols.
    • Your reservation schedule needs to accommodate booking group classes to also meet physical distancing occupancy limits.
  • Be sure your reservation schedule includes a waiting list once maximum occupancy is reached. The first member on the waiting list should be automatically notified whenever there is a cancellation.    
  • Institute a reasonable time limit for each time slot to comfortably accommodate as many members as possible. A 1-hour time limit is suggested.
  • Allow sufficient time between each time slot to allow for cleaning and disinfection of the facility and equipment.
  • Members should use their smartphone for contactless entry to assist with physical distancing
  • Utilize a separate booking system if your club management software does not provide this function.

Contact Tracing

In the unfortunate event a member contracts the COVID-19 virus, it will be critical to have the proper system in place for controlled access and limited occupancy. This component must be detailed and is urgent. Only with the availability of the necessary data can you have success with contact tracing.

When someone tests positive, you need to be able to trace their activity at the gym and identify other members and staff who were also present in the facility within a certain date-time range.

Ensure your scheduling software has the following capabilities:

  • Customizable scheduling protocol in order to reduce health risks
    • Facility access scheduling application must adhere to facility’s physical distancing guidelines
  • Specific real-time data reporting
  • Ability to update information and protocols in real-time
  • Schedule appointments for facility access
  • Ability to check members in and out for better contact tracing
    • Member check out recommended however may not be workable in some facilities

By minimizing risk, members and staff will be more confident to return to your facility and enjoy the social interaction that it provides. Take the steps to create an enjoyable member experience while adapting to our new reality.

Perry Tucciarone has successfully owned, managed, and consulted fitness clubs in Canada and the United States for over 25 years. Perry is currently the Director, Business Development & National Accounts for Antaris/Merchant Treasury Services Fitness Club Software, Fitness Industry Council of Canada Board Member and Prescription to Get Active NPC Treasurer.

Contact him at or visit:

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