Woodshed Covid Response: Where We Are Now

As businesses in Massachusetts begin to reopen as permitted by state regulations , we’re going to take some time to share our approach to the closure, what we’re doing to plan ahead, and how we’ll reopen to in-person training for our members. This has been an incredibly trying time for us all, as we’re sure it has for you, but we’re ready to move forward.

Over these next few posts we’ll outline how we plan to deliver on our mission of health and wellness for our members under dramatically different conditions–now more than ever, planning, forethought, and safety are paramount. And because we’ve always focused our efforts on coaching, programming, and quality over simple access and variety or exertion for their own sakes, we feel that we’re uniquely prepared to rise to this challenge and meet our people where they need to be.

But before we talk about where we’re going and how we’ll get there, we should say a word or two about where we are now, and that’s pretty simple: we’re closed. On March 15, after several days of consultation with like-minded gym owners in our mentoring group at Two Brain Business and discussion among our staff, we decided that closing our gym temporarily would be the best thing to do in service of our people and our community at large. Here in Massachusetts, the mandate was very clear: flatten the curve by mitigating against public gathering.

While I am sure we were not the first business to close its doors, we definitely skewed early within our community. But because of our preparation, the skill and passion of our coaches, and the overwhelmingly positive attitude of our members, we transitioned all of our coaching into a combination of custom training (assisted in spots by equipment rental), virtual classes, and a vibrant Facebook group within the first 24 hours of closure. We were ready, and all of our people rose to the occasion. Our coaches have led from the front professionally and with kindness, and our members have been extraordinarily adept and generous. I can’t say enough good things about these amazing humans I work with and for.

It hasn’t been an easy 10 weeks, of course. Some of that initial enthusiasm has waned, because we’re human. There are days that feel repetitive. Energy ebbs and flows, as it does for us all. As a business, we’ve lost significant revenue in 1-1 training and have invested tenfold in new cleaning supplies whose seals we’ve yet to crack. (You’ll enjoy the attached picture of the makeshift dugout where all of these ablutions now sit.) We keep pushing forward, but we are mindful that our days and businesses have been inexorably changed.

Just as we closed our doors earlier than most out of an abundance of caution, I suspect that when we are allowed to reopen, we will take a more careful approach than many around us. So be it. The temptation to throw that caution to the wind is real, particularly as we see businesses and gyms around us closing their doors for good. But we are going to do this slowly and safely because we believe that is consistent with our mission: getting our people stronger, helping them feel better, and seeing them do more outside of the gym. And that mission isn’t measured in hours and days. It’s worth getting right, being careful, and planning to succeed in safety and strength.

In the next entry, we’ll go over our first phase of reopening: how our classes will run, how we’ll ensure distancing and sanitizing protocols, and what we’ll do to guide our athletes back into their in-person workouts. It won’t be easy, but we’re committed to getting it right!

In the meantime, we send our sincere wishes to you and your loved ones for continued health in these trying times. May we remain strong and get through this together.

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