COVID-19 Legalities

COVID-19 Legalities for Gyms and Health Clubs

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (0) Comments

Over the last couple of months, gym owners have had to quickly transform their studios from in-person training to virtual. If you are one of them, it’s possible during your transition you overlooked two factors: Liability and insurance coverage. 

Did your heart skip a beat reading those words? What about them? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

This is new territory for everyone involved. Between drafting emails and choosing video platforms, liability and insurance coverage likely are not at the forefront of your mind. Especially if you’re new to owning a gym and recently conquered all that legal mumbo-jumbo anyway. Or, if you’ve owned one for a while and are pretty confident about the language you have in place. However, a pandemic changes things.  Here are some things to consider.

Tweak the Language

As you know, accidents don’t only happen at gyms but your coverage might only protect you there. This is why any instructor who has ever considered hosting a boot camp at a local park has been encouraged to double-check their policy first. Well, the same is true for online classes. During COVID-19, many people are learning they are not covered at home and require a more blanket-coverage policy.

Now is the time to pull yours out and go over the language with a fine-toothed comb. You want to be sure it covers you anywhere, anyhow. No one knows for sure how long this virus is here for and you would hate to encounter a preventable setback early on, or at all.

Add a Disclaimer

If you’ve ever tried a workout video before, like P90X or Insanity, then you’ve seen an example of a disclaimer. It’s all the text that scrolls on the screen just before you delve in. What it’s telling you is: do not proceed before consulting with your doctor. It’s also telling you to stop immediately if there is any shortness of breath, chest pains, or nausea.

While that seems like common knowledge to many, it’s important to include. This is because not everyone doing your workout will be a pro-gym-goer. Some of them could be trying it out for the first time in several years, as a way to keep busy during the quarantine.

So, whenever you post pre-recorded videos, be sure to tag in a quick disclaimer. And if you’re instructing live, go over it each time before you start. Even if it seems redundant, it is necessary.

Have Conversations

Keep an open line of communication with your clients. Before you start online instructions, let them know it may be more challenging than what they are used to and tell them why. There isn’t the proper space and equipment at home like there is at the gym. Also, instructors aren’t able to watch over clients in the same way. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to accomplish but they will have to be mindful and careful.

Teach your members to look for any signs of stress, encourage them to do modifications if need be, and to reach out with any questions or concerns they have.

Familiarize Yourself with Legal Terms

Familiarize yourself with specific legal terms like “Force Majeure”. It’s an unpredicted circumstance that prevents someone from being able to fulfill contracts. In this case, it’s your clients and their membership contracts with you.

In the upcoming weeks, it’s possible you’re going to discover many people are unable to pay you and you will have tough decisions to make. To waive or not to waive, that is the question!

Unfortunately, not every business is able to waive fees for their clients and that’s understandable. The hope is that those much-anticipated business grants will soon roll in and save the financial day. But, in the meantime, there are definitely some things you can do to safeguard yourself. One of them is by adding a clause in your contracts for any new clients that are signing up now.

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