While May the 4th may mean something about “the force” for many, for me it means 22 days until we can resume in person classes. Since we paused in person way back on March 17 I have been working towards this day. The first step was building an online program to bridge this time for our members. I’m so unbelievably proud of what my instructors have created. We are doing about 60 LIVE classes per week, uploading at least one “on demand” video a week and doing multiple FB engagements daily with workouts and motivations. My instruction team has KILLED it! So proud. And there efforts have been rewarded by our members, so many members have been staying with us and supporting the studio during this time. I’m so beyond grateful for my amazing staff and our incredible members.
But after we got the online on track, the next step has been preparing to resume. Deep cleaning the studios was part of the plan. Let’s be real, Aerial Dance is extremely clean normally. I’m a neat freak. All my staff know this, so they do a lot to keep the studios tidy. We also have a wonderful professional janitorial service, Clean Image, that cleans both our facilities. Dj, Wendy and the rest of the team are seriously amazing and do great detail work. They have been with us for years and are so important to Aerial Dance that when I was looking to open the Green Bay location one of the calls was to DJ to make sure they would clean up there too. I’m so grateful for them especially in this time because they are changing what is being done to our facilities as our needs change. We did initial deep cleaning right after the initial stay at home to prepare for the original resume date. But dust is a thing, so another deep cleaning happened the following month. And there will be yet a third deep clean before we finally DO have students back. We also had all carpets and upholstery cleaned. We do this yearly, but this year we added a cleaning.
One big aspect of resuming is putting in place policies, procedures and protocols on how to clean daily when we resume. Our leadership team has been researching the best ways to clean aerial fabrics and testing different cleaning products. We’ve been training our staff on what are the best “mop” patterns to disinfect around each pole. I have been participating in nationwide training calls on how to limit exposure for our students and staff. So much time has been spent looking at every aspect of our business and in person interactions and figuring out how we can best keep people safe. We will be announcing lots of little updates as we get closer to resuming (like which door to enter for which studio so we don’t have people congregating in the reception areas).
But The most challenging thing we are facing as we get ready to resume is the lack of supplies. Every week I do shopping for myself, my parents and the studios on one day. I try to go to as few stores as possible. And I usually have a massive panic attack by the end of the shopping because I can’t find what we need in the quantities we need it. To reopen safely I need enough 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean and disinfect poles. One of the changes we will be implementing when we resume, to limit contact, is that each pole will have a spray bottle. That means six more bottles per studio, 18 more bottles throughout the company. So I had to find spray bottles; which was oddly challenging and our usual brand was out of stock until July! Once I found the bottles, I had to start finding alcohol. I don’t have the luxury of buying with a limit of 1 or 2 bottles at most stores because we frankly need 2 bottles PER DAY minimum. And since many days I cannot find ANY, we can’t reopen and expect to purchase as we go. So stock piling is becoming real. I swear I’m not a hoarder, I just have no idea how else to handle this. Knowing we are having serious difficulty getting supplies means planning WAY ahead so we have enough for at least two months when we resume and to keep ahead so we don’t ever run out. Gone are the days where we can take a quick trip to the store and buy it easily, so this brave new world means planning way ahead for basics so our community is safe to resume. Making lists to anticipate this need and planning for how to safely resume is a whole new level of planning. But we’re doing it. And way in advance, so we WILL be ready as soon as the stay at home is lifted!