To our valued members and partners
Like everyone in Canada and throughout the world, Orangetheory Fitness was caught off guard by the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the globe in February and March. That said, we are proud of the efforts that our Canadian Franchise Advisory Council, network of local franchise partners and corporate staff put forth in becoming one of the first national fitness brands to close all studio’s in Canada on March 16 - well ahead of many of our industry competitors, and in time to prevent a single case of confirmed spread in any of our 100+ studios across the country.
Having been closed for well over 2 months now, we are encouraged with the progress Canadians have made to flatten the curve and we are hopeful to begin reopening our studios this summer. Our number one priority will continue to be the health and safety of our members and staff. To that end, we continue to follow the advice of both provincial and federal health authorities. Once we have approval from each provincial health authority, and we have modified our operational health and safety plans to meet or exceed their guidelines, we will start classes again.
Upon closing our studios in March, all memberships were frozen and since then no dues have been collected from members. As you can expect, it has been challenging for all our local franchise business owners to have no revenues coming in while they still have business related expenses like rent and utilities to pay. We also understand that members will have different risk profiles and some may not immediately feel comfortable coming back when we open our doors. With so much uncertainty around reopening, we are balancing the needs of our members to get back into classes along with decisions that will have implications on the viability of our businesses.
As of June 1st, four provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan) have announced specific dates and guidelines for fitness clubs to re-open. Despite these announcements, our local franchise owners in each of these four provinces have collectively decided to delay reopening until at least mid to late June so that:
- We can continue to monitor both our U.S. studio openings and the Canadian fitness industry as a whole to determine which health and safety measures are both effective in protecting our patrons, while not burdening the overall Orangetheory experience so that it becomes unpleasant.
- Each location has a chance to align its operational health and safety plan with government guidelines.
- Staff can be re-hired and re-trained to deliver a safe and exceptional customer experience.
- Studios have time to source required PPE, studio signage and make modifications to their layout and traffic flow.
It’s important to note that the COVID-19 situation is very fluid, and we are learning new things about this virus on a daily basis. While Orangetheory may not be one of the first studios to reopen in any market, we will aspire to provide the safest and most exceptional fitness experience possible.
While we are closed, our members will continue to receive regular updates. Once studio reopening dates are confirmed, details will be communicated to our members by email and social media. Until the reopening date, memberships will remain frozen and no additional dues will be collected. We have also been working diligently to formulate new and enhanced safety and cleaning policies for when we reopen. When member’s come back, they can expect the following changes:
- A new mobile app where you will be able to book your workouts and input performance data.
- Modified class formats that will allow for enhanced cleaning procedures and spacial distancing.
- Enhanced studio cleaning and disinfectant materials and procedures.
- All staff will be provided with personal protective gear
- Studio traffic flow procedures that will allow for adequate social distancing.
- The elimination of high-touch point procedures such as equipment reservation cards and challenge tracker entry (a new touchless reservation system will be introduced).
For the last couple months, Orangetheory has also been producing daily at-home workouts which are FREE to members and non-members on our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels. Our national fitness team, coaches and local franchisees have been experimenting with several different formats of group virtual classes and online workouts. We’ve also recently started testing outdoor bootcamp style variations of these workouts. It is our belief that we will continue to find and utilize different platforms like these to deliver the Orangetheory workout in ways that provide our members a safe and comfortable fitness experience.
COVID-19 may change the way we all think about group-based classes, but the basis of studio concepts like Orangetheory Fitness is “Community”. ”Community” for Orangetheory members is fueled by their desire for the support of coach-led workouts and the competitiveness and camaraderie of simultaneously working towards their individual goals, together. Will “Community” be diminished by having less people in a class or having the instructor wear personal protective equipment like a mask or face-shield? While we’re not entirely sure yet what the in-studio experience will look like, we don’t think the heart and soul of the Orangetheory experience will be phased by these protective measures.
We’d like to finish by reminding everyone that exercise is a critical factor in building their immune systems. There are several studies now linking regular exercise to reducing the severity of viruses like COVID-19. Once Orangetheory studios are ready to re-open, we feel strongly that members and interested guests should book into a class and get back into the routine of improving their health and fitness. There is no better way to achieve one’s goals and stay healthy than with the #1 workout in Canada that is science-backed, technology-tracked and coach-inspired!
Best in health,
President, Orangetheory Fitness Canada