Waving pages of a document outlining the extensive cleaning standards applied at her studio, Greenville Pure Barre owner Oliva Loncki jokingly says it’s possibly one of the cleanest places to be in Wilmington.
“Our cleaning efforts were already good and tedious. But now with this threat and the scare, we have revamped it and took it up a notch. There’s nothing else being done really all day long than cleaning, cleaning, cleaning” said Loncki.
It’s a message many small businesses across the country are trying to get out as the spread of coronavirus has impacted businesses of all kinds, particularly restaurants and gyms. Owners like Loncki want their customers to know the lengths they are going to keep their clients healthy and safe.
“We are cleaning and disinfecting every single surface that people come into contact with — door handles, the bars, the equipment, the container with the mints, the Sharpie pens people use to write their names during the challenges. We have people who are still very dedicated to meeting their challenges even throughout the scare,” she said.
Loncki says her studio, which just celebrated its grand re-opening with a complete new look on February 29th, still operates at capacity. But she may consider reducing class sizes if other Pure Barre studios adopt that measure.
“That might be my next step to probably decrease them by at least 10 clients to make sure there’s about six feet in between each person, just because again, we know how easily it’s (the virus) is transmitted,” said Loncki. She adds that typically her teachers are very ‘hands-on’ regarding ways clients can improve their form. “Obviously we have taken that down – extremely so,” she says.
Pure Barre Greenville offers a full slate of classes seven days a week for some 250 member clients and an additional 50 clients who are not on monthly billing. Member Kristin Duncan says she and her friends would be devastated if Pure Barre were forced to close. “This is our refuge. It would be really rough to have our freedom taken away,” she said.
Loncki says her classes are a great mental boost — many of her clients tell her this is the one time of the day that they are not stressed out about the potential of the virus. “Our clients have been amazing. I just have to remain positive and keep in mind that we are going to get through this as a society. And I just keep reminding myself that I am not alone. I mean every business is truly going to be affected by this,” says Loncki.
Just yesterday the Pure Barre in Ardmore announced that it had to close for 14 days by order of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Officials are enforcing strict measures in Montgomery County, PA, which has 13 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus. The studio plans to adjust all accounts and payments going forward. “How we handle adversity speaks volumes about our character,” the studio told its clients on Instagram.
Cycology 202 and barre fitness studio owner Ellen Spell is also worried about the impact of the coronavirus on her business. “I have a lump in my chest. If we’re shut down and if there’s no income, this could really hurt us,” she says. “A lot of my expenses are not going to go away if my customers don’t come in.”
Spell just signed a lease for a new Cycology studio in tony Rittenhouse Square, and naturally wants to launch the location without concerns about infection.
Spell announced today that all four of her studios – Total Body Barre and Cycology 202 in Glen Mills and Sea Barre and Sea Cycle in Rehoboth – will implement new policies starting next week. Her new smaller class sizes will be limited to 20 Glen Mills and 15 at the beach. Her stepped up procedures include:
- the installation of new air sanitation machines at each location
- limiting the number of spots in her class to increase space for social distancing
- asking clients to provide their own mats (they will not be providing mats during the threat of the virus)
- Increasing efforts to diligently clean all surfaces, equipment and communal spaces before and after each class
The reduced class sizes will offer six feet of space between each client in the barre classes and on the spinning cycles. Spell says that with the reduced class sizes, she may have to add more classes to the schedules.
Professional cleaning crews come in to deep clean and disinfect the cycling and barre studios every night, and clients are now asked to clean their equipment in addition to the thorough equipment wipe downs implemented by her staff after every class.
For now, Spell remains grateful that her clients trust she and her team are doing everything they can to keep her studios clean and safe. Spell says since the virus struck, only one of her 350 member clients has asked to put her membership on hold. Another 200 clients without monthly memberships also keep coming every week.
“We are really all part of a community, and I think our customers will try to work with us as we navigate this really difficult time,” said Spell. “I joked with my clients last week that if everyone follows the rules, we will give them each of them a roll of toilet paper!”