July 20, 2020 3:30pm
Dear Lost ‘n Found Yoga students,
As you have probably heard, the Ontario government announced today that the Niagara Region will move to Stage 3 this Friday, July 24. Stage 3 allows fitness studios like Lost ‘n Found Yoga to reopen under strict parameters. We are soooo excited to welcome you all back to the studio! This is a long post, but it is a very important one, so please read it through carefully.
We will reopen our drop-in classes at both our North Niagara location at the Grantham Plaza in St. Catharines and our South Niagara location at 96 Jarvis St. in Fort Erie as of Monday, July 27th. The first week back will be a phased-in approach with a reduced number of classes on the drop-in schedule as we get used to new policies and procedures. Both the North Niagara schedule and the South Niagara schedule have been reduced to about 50% of our normal number of classes. The North Niagara schedule will be back to full by the following week, however, because of small class attendance (pre-COVID) at some of our South Niagara classes it is not viable to keep all of the previous classes running. Unfortunately we will have to maintain the 50% schedule in South Niagara with the best-attended classes for the next little while.
Pre-registered classes including ALIGN, Beginner Yoga, Beginner Mat Pilates, Prenatal, Yoga for Tweens and all Reformer Pilates group classes will restart beginning Tuesday, August 4th. If you were registered in one of these classes when we shut down you will receive a personal email in the next few days with the details about these classes.
With reopening in Stage 3 comes a whole new way of doing things. First and foremost is the safety and well-being of our students and our staff. We have prepared a detailed cleaning and santization plan which we will be using and documenting throughout the day. There are a number of other items to make note of, so we are going to review all the “new normal” things we will have to get used to for a while in this post.
In keeping with the new St. Catharines bylaw, all individuals entering the studio will be required to wear a mask until they are on their mat and class is ready to begin. The exception will be front desk staff who are behind a barrier and individuals who cannot wear them due to medical reasons. However, if you do not wear a mask, you will not be asked why or turned away as that would be a violation of your privacy. We do ask, however, that if you can wear a mask that you please do so that we can squash COVID-19 as fast as possible.
Once the class is ready to begin, students can then choose to either practice with their mask on or off. Practicing with a mask on could increase the risk of breathing difficulties for some folks so this will be solely up to the discretion of each student. We do ask that ALL students respect each student’s choice with regard to wearing a mask during exercise or not.
Arrival and Class Check-in
Students must complete a self risk assessment questionnaire before entering the studio. This assessment will be posted on the entrance to our studio and throughout our studio. You can also access this assessment ahead of time by visiting https://www.niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/pdf/screening-tool-colour.pdf
. If you determine that you are not eligible to participate in your class, please do not enter the studio.
When entering and exiting the studio, please use your elbow to activate the automatic door operators to minimize hand touches of the door handle itself.
When you arrive, we ask that you either use hand sanitizer immediately upon arrival, or (preferably) wash your hands with soap and water in the washroom. Please use your knuckle when signing into the iPads. These will be cleaned often. If you aren’t comfortable touching the iPad, please let our staff know and they can sign you in.
Drop-In Schedule Changes
Our North Niagara Drop-in Schedule has been adjusted to stagger class time starts by 15 minutes. This means that instead of having up to 4 classes starting at 9:45am on some days, these classes will have start times of 9:15am, 9:30am, 9:45am and 10:00am. A few classes have been moved to larger rooms as well to allow for more social distancing. These staggered start times will help reduce congestion in our entranceway, foyer, coat closet and hallway areas and allow for more social distancing.
Class Sizes and Mat Setup
Due to the public health requirement of continued social distancing through Stage 3, our class sizes will have a much lower maximum capacity. All of our classes will have approximately 8 feet between the centre of one mat and the centre of another mat. Smaller class sizes will ensure that we can maintain social distancing, but the unfortunate reality is that sometimes you may be waitlisted for a class that has already filled up. When you setup your mat in class, please do not select a space at random. In order to accommodate the reduced class sizes and maintain distancing, we have taped off green “X”s at the CENTRE of where mats should be placed in each studio. There will be a red “X” for the centre of the instructor’s mat.
Pre-sign Up for Classes
Due to the limited space in classes, EVERYONE will need to pre-sign up for classes. This can be done through our website or our mobile app, but if you are not comfortable with technology you can simply call the studio and our staff will be more than happy to sign you up for your class. You can pre-sign up as early as 2 weeks in advance, and we recommend doing so as early as possible to secure your spot in class. Also, if you have signed up but cannot attend, PLEASE cancel out of the class as soon as your plans change in order to open up a space for someone that might be on a wait list for that class.
One Class Per Day for Pre-sign Up
We know many of you enjoy attending more than one class a day at our North Niagara studio. For now, we are asking that you don’t pre-sign up for more than one class per day to allow everyone a fair chance at getting into their classes since the class cap is so low. You are welcome to remain at the studio (or perhaps take a walk around the Grantham Plaza) until the class you want to get into gets ready to start and then jump into the class if there is space available.
Priority for Ongoing Members During Closure for Pre-sign Up
A BIG HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who continued to support us by continuing your membership throughout the closure. We truly wouldn’t still be here without you. For those of you who have maintained your membership throughout our closure and do not ask for an extension of your membership when we reopen, we are forever indebted to you. As a show of our thanks, you will continue to receive FREE access to our online video library of more than 350 classes. You will also be given first priority to pre-sign up for classes. We will review class registration 24 hours before a class starts, and if a member that has maintained their membership throughout the closure and not asked for an extension has been waitlisted, we may withdraw the last person to sign up from the class that was not also one of these members. Anyone withdrawn from a class will be notified by e-mail at least 24 hours before class begins and will not be charged for that class.
Some instructors will not use props at all during their classes as instructors need to disinfect the props after class. All studio blocks and bolsters used will be disinfected with Benefect Decon and rotated to the back of the shelf.
Blocks – For the time being, we would much prefer if you brought your own blocks to the studio. We have blocks for sale for $20.00 for two blocks. If you choose not to bring your own blocks you can use ours, but we would really prefer that you brought your own to reduce the amount that instructors have to disinfect. When bringing your own blocks, we recommend writing your name (or initials) on them with permanent marker to avoid any mix-ups.
Straps – Studio straps will not be available for use. If you like to use a strap in your practice you will need to bring your own. We have straps available for sale at the studio for $15.00.
Blankets – Studio blankets will not be available for use. If you like to use a blanket in your practice you will need to bring your own.
Bolsters – If you have your own bolster, please bring it. We have a limited number here we can sell for $80. These were used maybe 2-3 times before we closed and retail for $108 brand new. If you choose not to bring your own bolster and use ours, you will need to bring your own blanket or towel from home to place over the bolster or use one of our rags.
There will be no hands-on assists at this time, therefore there will be no use of consent cards. The exception would be if a student needed first aid or was going to fall.
Extension Requests for Drop-in Classes
As a small business, this closure has had an enormous impact on the financial stability of our business. This business is our sole source of income and the main source of income for many of our staff. We have worked incredibly hard to keep providing as much service as possible to our members (and to keep employing our staff) by sending out over 350 full-length yoga class videos since the middle of March. We also built an online library for these video classes so that our members could choose any class they wanted at any time.
The COVID tagline has been “we are all in this together”, therefore, we ask that prior to submitting an extension request that you consider whether or not you financially need the extension. We will honour all extensions requested without question or judgement but we would be very grateful if you would consider waiving an extension. Every extension we grant means that we will have further reduced revenue at a time we are already struggling, making things more difficult as we try and reopen with many additional costs and financial pressures. As part of our community at Lost ‘n Found Yoga, we would really value and appreciate your help in lightening the tremendous load that we are under as a small business that has been forced to close for over 4 months and now operate under considerable constraints.
Each request will need to be made on our COVID-19 Request for Extension application form. This will help keep our admin team organized. Application forms will be available by emailing our front desk. Applications need to be sent in no later than the end of August 2020 and your extension will be backdated to the date we reopened. If you paid for August because we didn’t get your extension request until after your payment came out we will adjust your account for your next payment accordingly. We are not able to allow clients to defer their extension until a later date. This will be an administrative nightmare and will cost our studio even more financially.
We realize that no one feels they should pay for a service that they did not receive in the way they originally expected to. However, in the circumstances we have all been in this year, we would encourage you to consider yourself part of our Lost ‘n Found Yoga family, rather than just a consumer of our services. We really are a community together, and when a family is struggling everyone contributes what they can to help the family survive.
In our own personal family, we had several in-person services that we utilize (like dance and piano lessons, etc.) that transitioned to online options during the pandemic. We continued to use and pay for these types of services because we wanted to support the individuals, small businesses and families offering these services who were doing the very best they could to give us as much value as possible in a difficult situation.
As a community, part of being “all in this together”, means that everyone bears some sacrifice. We don’t know what that looks like for you or your financial situation, but if it is at all possible for you not to request an extension that would be a huge blessing to us, our staff and your fellow clients. The unfortunate reality is that if we get a large influx of requests for extensions we may have to raise our prices and reduce the wages we pay our staff in order to make ends meet.
Thank you so much for your consideration in this matter. Again, if you fill out this form and submit it, we will honour it with no questions asked and honour your confidentiality.
Pre-registered Yoga Classes (ALIGN, Beginner, Prenatal, Baby and Mom, Yoga for Tweens)
Those of you who signed up for pre-registered yoga classes including Prenatal, Beginner Yoga, ALIGN Yoga for Mental Health and Yoga for Tweens classes are in a unique situation. For some of you, you no longer need the class because your baby has been born already! For others, the date and time you signed up for worked for you when you committed but no longer works. For pre-registered classes that are no longer relevant to you, we will credit your account for the remaining classes you have left and you can use them toward other services or products at the studio. We still need you to fill out the application form so we can keep track of everyone’s requests. Please indicate on the form which class you were enrolled in. Alternatively, we may be able to transfer you into another day/time if the class is still relevant to you as may be the case for some. Also, please note that we will not be running Baby & Mom Yoga for the remainder of this session, however, we will re-evaluate this series for the next round beginning in September. If you were enrolled in Baby & Mom Yoga this session you account will be credited for the remaining classes.
Reformer Pilates Classes and Private Sessions
If you had purchased private Reformer Pilates sessions on your account and have not been coming in to use them during Phase 2, your private sessions are still there. They will remain until you use them up. Please contact the studio to schedule a time for your next private session.
Group Reformer Pilates classes (Intro to Reformer, Reformer Progressions, etc.) will resume on Tuesday, August 4th, after the long weekend. If you were registered in one of these classes in March when we shut down, you will receive a personal email in the next few days with the details about these classes. Your class will be scheduled for the same day of the week and time of day that it was when we closed. If the day or time no longer works for you, please let us know and we will try to move you into a different time slot, based on availability. Unfortunately, we cannot defer your classes to start at a later time. If you are away on vacation in August, you have the option to make up classes by signing into another class that has availability at the beginning of each week, but you must use up all of your classes by the end of your 5-week or 8-week session. As always, unused classes will not roll over to future sessions.
Child Minding, Change Rooms, Showers and Water Dispenser
At this time, child minding will not be running at our North Niagara studio. Additionally, the change rooms, showers and water dispenser will not be available for client use. Please be sure to arrive with a full water bottle ready for your class. Also, the universal washroom is still available if you need to change at the studio. We want to give time to get comfortable with our new procedures and feel that it is safest to do things in a phased approach. We will re-evaluate whether we are ready to offer these services and amenities at the beginning of September and we will provide an update at that time.
Let’s Practice Patience
We know that you are all eager to get back to your mat and we hope things will run smoothly as we all adjust to some of these new processes and procedures. As we get going, PLEASE be patient and respectful with each other, including our front desk staff, instructors, your fellow students and even yourself. We are going to be fielding lots of questions and we might not be able to get you as quickly as usual, but we will help you as soon as we are able. Be patient with your body, since it may not move the way you want it to if you have been away from your practice for a few months. Don’t worry, it will come back, but don’t push too hard too quickly as we don’t want anyone to be injured. Breathe in. Breath out. It’s going to be okay.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who poured out so much love and support to use during this incredibly difficult time. We are absolutely over the moon excited to see you again!! We. Just. Can’t. Wait.
We will see you on your mat real soon!!!!
April, Bill and the Lost ‘n Found Yoga Team