Covid 19 – AN UPDATE FROM THE VICE CHAIRMAN
I am writing to further update you on behalf of the Laboratory Spa & Health Clubs as to the latest news with regards to your club. As you know, we were closed by the government on 20th March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This represents the first time that our clubs have closed for longer than 24 hours in the past 26 years. We have always tried our best to provide members with as much access and availability as possible throughout the year, to fulfil our goal to be your escape from the stresses of everyday life. In this case, it was of course unavoidable, so we had to close for the past few months in line with government regulation.
As you know, we immediately chose to switch all memberships to ‘freeze’ status for a reduced freeze fee of £15, in order to maintain your membership whilst also ensure a minimal stream of income to aid us through this crisis. The harsh reality is that these clubs are significant in size and labour intensive, so despite some government aid, we have continued to incur significant costs. A simple example of this has been the continuation of the regular testing and cleaning of our two 25m swimming pools, so that they are maintained to the highest standards for our reopening, whenever that was to be. For this reason we appreciate the support that those of you who have stayed loyal have shown during this time. Despite the obvious financial impact of the lockdown, we have decided to use this time to carry out dramatic renovations and works at both clubs. The logic behind this was two-fold: We saw it as an opportunity to do these works without members having to suffer any inconvenience or down-time, as would be the case in normal circumstances. Secondly, we believe that, although it is a risk to incur large costs out of pocket without any guarantees of recovery as a business, we are in a unique position to do so. We are a private family business. One that has been running for a quarter of a century in a careful and self-sufficient way, whilst upgrading and developing as necessary to do so to stay at the forefront of the health club industry in the UK. So, whilst other clubs are desperately cutting costs and re-opening the clubs as before, we have decided to open from a position of strength. We have invested large sums in these clubs to ensure that when we finally welcome you back, you remember why you are a member in the first place. We want you to be filled with pride at the standards of your club. If we succeed in doing so, we believe it will be beneficial to our business growth in the long-term.
With all this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on what I am talking about and update you on the works that I am referring to. I believe that this is the best way to inform you of our intentions. For ease of reference I have consolidated the works into the following list:
NEW MEMBERSHIP SYSTEM
We have partnered with software provider ‘Perfect Gym’ to provide a membership platform that is truly state-of-the-art. This system will also introduce new membership RF cards for tap entry, as well as biometric access for those of you who prefer the convenience or have left their cards at home. (Please note that you will need to register your fingerprint
with the reception team).
NEW LAB APP
This will be launched when we reopen and will allow for direct class bookings, club information and online purchases, amongst a host of other features.
DIRECT FIBRE OPTIC BROADBAND
We have connected both clubs via commercial direct fibre lines, providing the fastest internet available in the UK, with speeds of up to 1000mbps.
NEW SECURITY CAMERAS
We have upgraded our CCTV system to increase our total number of cameras between the clubs from 30 to 80+. They are the best 4K cameras from Hikvision, and ensure you are safe and protected whilst at either club.
We have installed all new bespoke Laboratory-branded dumbbells, barbells and weighted plates in our London gyms, to provide you with the very best in free-weight equipment. These are in collaboration with Jordan Fitness and are their top Urethane premium range exclusive to us.
In line with our constant attempts to work towards a greener future, we have installed multiple high speed electric charge points at each club. We have also applied energy saving measures to windows, lights, and machinery to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.
We have followed government guidelines closely and have provided safety measures where possible. Temperature checks will be carried out upon entry. Hand sanitizer will be provided and mask/gloves encouraged wherever possible. Markings have been made in studios to ensure 2m distancing between participants during the class. These are a few examples of some of the measures we are taking, however the GM’s will elaborate further in an email on this subject in due course.
We have repainted the entire reception area and all stairwells. We have also replaced all carpets in these areas with a high-quality yet hard-wearing superior product.
NEW CAR PARK
It has been a major job to completely resurface the entire car park at Muswell Hill with new asphalt, then repaint all the lineage with resin paint to leave the club looking and feeling brand new. These works provide a completely new and fresh feel to the club that you have known all these years.
We are replacing all tiling in the entire swimming pool area with personalised mosaic tiles, and installing two new Jacuzzi spa baths that incorporate the same mosaic tiling. The result will be stunning.
MEN'S SHOWER AREA
We stripped back the whole area and did a full refurbishment, including new tiling and drainage.
NEW FEATURE WALLS
We have hired a specialist painter to bring dramatic textured feature walls to the reception and hallway areas, as well as new signage and lighting, freshening up the whole atmosphere of the club as you first enter.
All new lineage in specialised resin paint to reinforce the existing parking lines and incorporate the new electrical charging spaces. We also added an extra disabled bay.
I hope the above provides you with a more detailed breakdown of the significant investment and efforts we have made during our closure. I know many of you have been members for years, some founding members, so it really is a part of your lifestyle. Therefore I am sure that you are passionate about the club. I really believe you will be amazed by the changes that we have made and I hope that your appreciation will be demonstrated with your continued support of our business for many years to come.
This pandemic has been something very difficult and new for all of us. Without the benefit of prior experience it is inevitable that we are all navigating rather blindly through these waters. However, I do also believe that it has taught us a lot about ourselves and the importance of healthy living. Health clubs like ours provide you with the facilities needed to get you in the best shape possible, both in body and mind. We take pride in our contribution to society and it really motivates us to continue to do what we do. We will be opening our clubs at the beginning of August and an announcement will be made in the coming days with exact dates and operating hours. We have taken many measures to provide a safe environment for you to visit. Of course, we are relying on you as members to always abide by government guidelines and be considerate to other members, especially those who are vulnerable. We are not here to police our members, and we trust that you will do your part to keep the staff and other members as safe as possible. If you are feeling unwell, please avoid the clubs and follow the government testing and quarantine procedures until it is 100% safe for you to return. We will take a zero tolerance policy to any blatant disregard of safety measures, but we hope that this will never be necessary. As I mentioned earlier, more specific details of our new safety policies will be available shortly.
It is the members that bring life to these clubs, so please let me take this opportunity to welcome you back to the Laboratory Spa & Health Clubs and I look forward to seeing you all frequent the clubs upon our imminent reopening.