2020 has been an incredibly difficult year in so many respects, and for so many of us. Thankfully, we now have more hope with the recent national rollout of the new Covid-19 vaccines. Yet, the pain and hardships we have faced over the past year will still be felt for some time to come for those in our community, whether it be mentally or emotionally, physically or financially, or otherwise.
But amidst the difficulties that have come to define 2020, we at INVIVO Wellness also wanted to reflect on the positives that we can now take with us into the New Year. At our multi-service wellness center here in the heart of Milwaukee, we understand the importance of holistic self-care – the need to focus on the mind, body and soul through services such as fitness, physical therapy, massage and yoga.
At the outset of the pandemic in March, our team began discussing safety protocols that we could institute when it was deemed safe for us to re-open. We developed a plan that included a wide variety of measures, including requiring masks and social distancing, symptom and temperature checks, and frequent sanitization of equipment. It was also important for us to plan how to effectively communicate these policies to our clients, including posting signage throughout the facility and sharing information about them in our newsletters, social media content and other digital outreach.
After a weeklong shutdown in March, we were allowed to reopen with a limited schedule to serve physical therapy patients. This limited reopening allowed us to pilot our safety measures and adapt them to keep our staff and clients safe, something we have continually sought to do since the spring.
Pivot Not Panic
In addition to safety measures in the facility itself, during the early days of the pandemic we also considered how we could offer our traditional in-person classes to our clients. We devised a plan to quickly pivot from our popular in-person classes to virtual classes. We shut down on March 20th and launched our first virtual yoga and fitness classes five days later, ultimately offering 25 classes per week. Many of our clients also participate in personal training, which we were able to begin offering virtually as well.
We were proud to have been recognized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) as a Focus on the Future Award honoree in the “Pivot Not Panic” for our efforts to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was essential for us to find a way to effectively deliver our services to our clients while keeping both them and our staff members safe every step of the way.
In July, we also began offering small in-person classes and have maintained small class sizes of no more than six people ever since. Our instructors and clients are still required to wear masks, socially distance and follow numerous other safety measures while receiving this in-person instruction, which also offers attendees very individualized attention.
Ready to Adapt
We will continue to look for ways to adapt and offer our services in the safest and most engaging way possible for our clients in 2021. We are very proud of the leadership of our team and are equally as grateful to our clients for their ongoing support. We have also been inspired by the resilience of our community and look forward to seeing how we can all work together to better the lives of one another in the New Year.
This article originally appeared in 2021 January issue of the Riverwest Currents. Co-authored by Zach Burrus and Cynthia Akey.