A- A+


This playbook is provided for Greater Des Moines (DSM) gyms, wellness and yoga studios and fitness centers. Please consult trusted resources specifically for the size and specialty of your facility.

Sample: 24/7 Fitness Center Risk Profile

The sample risk profile has been determined for 24/7 fitness centers in DSM. The profile shows frequency, or how many people in a day; duration, or length of typical interaction; and variety, or the number of different people.*

Current Impact

Future Trends

Recommended Practices

Community Partnerships

Additional Resources

Current Impact

In 2020, consumers have shown extreme interest in maintaining their fitness routines in spite of national gym closures. According to an economic report released April 30, consumers' intention to buy personal fitness and exercise equipment increased by 463%. In March, Google searches for "home workout" grew 82% over two weeks as states put quarantines into effect. Statistics have also reflected much higher engagement with a variety of health and fitness apps.

Home Fitness Interest
Increased 436%

98% Laid Off by
Large Chains

Surge in Fitness App


However, fitness facilities themselves have suffered from the prolonged shutdown, as evidenced by layoffs of up to 98% of the employees of chain fitness studios such as Flywheel and Solidcore. Despite moving to limited digital offerings, closed gyms and yoga studios cannot generate the same revenues while unable to charge for their in-person offerings. Bringing consumers back after they've grown accustomed to their home gyms and apps will need to be a top strategic priority. Moreover, facilities will need to convince members that their spaces are safe and virus-free. Implementing smart scheduling and maintaining expanded online services, such as continuing virtual group exercise classes, are tactics that can be used to engage clients to restart or continue their memberships.

Future Trends

Limited Capacity

Prepare to operate with capacity constraints for social distancing requirements and frequent sanitation needs.

Online Scheduling

Implement an online scheduling system that enables members to sign up for exercise time slots to reduce crowding.

Expanded Online Classes & Personal Training

Recording virtual classes enables gyms to continue to provide services and generate membership revenue.

Online Group Exercise Classes

Virtual group activity promotes fitness and social connection, which can maintain positivity and membership through and beyond gym closures. Consider offering virtual programming for customers who aren't ready to return to the facility.

Recommended Practices

Health & Sanitation

  • Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from your local public health department.
  • Anyone who has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed to enter the facility.
  • Members and staff should be strongly encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and gyms should strive to provide this resource.
  • All staff and members should be encouraged to wear gloves and masks if possible.

Process & Space Modifications

  • Regularly sanitize common surfaces including counters and entrance/exit doors.
  • Ensure all equipment, such as treadmills, bikes, weight machines, benches and power racks, are spaced at least six feet apart, or take other appropriate measures so closely spaced equipment is not all used at the same time.
  • Limit group classes to ten people and maintain a distance of six feet among the participants.
  • Place tape on floors directing the flow of traffic and forming personal space zones.
  • Consider allowing members to reserve a time at the gym through online scheduling.
  • Consider removing high-touch and hard to clean items.
  • If applicable, assign locker prior to guest arrival to manage cleaning process.
  • Members should depart as soon as workout is complete.
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety guidelines state a fitness center can estimate capacity by dividing the establishment's square footage by an occupant load factor of 50.


  • Post signage featuring measures members can take to prevent illness and ensure signage is placed in multiple locations.
  • Advise members and staff that they are required to stay home if feeling ill.
  • Instruct members to sanitize equipment with provided sanitary wipes or spray before and after each use.
  • Inform members of dues and fees incurred or waived during closure.

Community Partnerships

Employee Wellness

As employees continue to work from home, consider engaging employers in low-cost group memberships for their staff to access virtual services only. Companies may be more interested in offering such options as a benefit if their staff can no longer access onsite wellness facilities.

Additional Resources

Recommended Playbooks

The business function playbooks include takeaways that are specific to professional functions that could be present in any business, regardless of industry.

*We note that these assessments are qualitative and based on expert-led judgment (Johns Hopkins, 2020). Currently, there are not enough detailed data available to enable quantitative risk stratification. Businesses will need to make decisions about re-initiating business activities before there are validated data to know the precise levels of risk.

Legal Disclaimer

The Greater Des Moines Partnership's DSM Forward playbook is not intended to constitute legal advice or provide specific direction. The preparation of a business continuity or preparations plan should be undertaken with the advice and direction of appropriate specialists and personnel, in consideration of the unique circumstances impacting each business. Third-party websites or material linked to or referenced in DSM Forward are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of The Partnership of that material or its authors.

Last updated: 5/8/2020