Below you will find information on what has changed to keep everyone as safe as possible. Most of this can be found on our social media but here you can find pretty much everything as it stands now, so you know what to expect when you come back for a climb with us again.
Getting Ready / When Will We Open?
At the time of writing we do not know the exact date we will be allowed to reopen. However we are doing a lot to prepare the centre physically (social distance markers, etc) and changing our processes to help keep everyone safe but also make sure you can have a great session.
All memberships will revert to normal on 27th July. If you have maintained your membership at a lower (or higher!) rate while we’ve been closed, this will return to your standard membership dues from 1st August.
If you would like to do something different with your membership, you can request this online. Please put your request in as soon as possible, so we have time to process this before the 1st August.
Flashpoint Swindon is lucky enough to be in a very big open space. This gives us a fairly large capacity even with social distancing in mind. We will start with a max capacity at any one time of 80 people and see how it goes from there.
In order to manage this we will ask you to check in & check out so we can see how many people we have in at any one time. Plus you will be able to see this too from the comfort of your own home. The clever people at Rock Gym Pro (our reception system) have created a “live widget” that can go on our website so you can see how busy we are at any one time.
There is a small risk that if we get very busy you might have to wait until someone leaves in order to go in. But we think this risk is small for now. We will keep monitoring and if necessary we will implement the same “slot booking” system we have at the other sites (Flashpoint Bristol and Redpoint Bristol).
When we designed Flashpoint Swindon we paid a lot of attention to making sure there was plenty of space between the boulder walls. After all you spend more time standing around than you do actually climbing when you go to the wall. At our other walls we have had to strip a few areas that share a landing zone.
We have re-set a couple of areas but other than that it will be business as usual with regular setting from our incredible setting team. Chomping at the bit to create some masterpieces after 3 months climbing around their kitchens.
Liquid Chalk & Hand Sanitiser
Even before lockdown we where looking to find a solution to reducing the amount of chalk in the air. It’s a bit problem in climbing walls as the centre’s can get ridiculously dusty. Making cleaning a constant struggle and generally making the place feel grubby, and also not very nice for our staff to breath all day long. So we are going to trial providing liquid chalk to all our customers.
We’ve been talking a lot with Tad from @massifclimbing about the possibility of liquid chalk acting as a hand sanitiser. Unfortunately the short answer is that liquid chalk is not recognised as a hand sanitiser. The WHO has very specific requirements and ingredients for hand sanitiser. The alcohol content alone does not make it work. It may well do the job but it also may well not.
Most hand sanitisers have a lot of “gel” in them to make your hands feel moisturised after using them. Not exactly what you want before you climb. So Massif have created us a customised hand sanitiser with the minimum gel allowable, we will have this for use next to the liquid chalk stations. So you sanitise your hands, then use the Liquid Chalk, then crush. The result is actually really impressive. It’s the best liquid chalk we’ve ever used!
You will be allowed to use loose chalk as well, if you feel you need to, but we will be encouraging you to use as little as possible to help us keep the place clean and the air quality high.
Opening Times & Staff Bubbles
A big risk to the business going forward is the “track and trace” system. Although we are super happy for the system to be in place as soon as possible it means we have to be careful about staff getting too close to each other for long periods of time. So we are putting receptionists into “bubbles” that work together. That way if one has to isolate we don’t have to isolate the whole team and shutdown.
What that means is we would like just one team to work for the whole day. But we used to be open from early to late every day. Which is a bit much to ask the team to be in for such a long shift. So we are looking initially to reduce our opening hours. This will be confirmed closer to opening but we will open around mid-day and close around 9.30pm on weekdays. We should be open normal…ish hours on weekends.
We are sorry to make this change for weekdays and as soon as we can we’ll go back to normal opening hours.
Before opening back up we are doing a big spring clean. It’s such a great opportunity to do it when no-one is around, and it’ll be nice for the place to feel fresh. Once open we will be actively cleaning more than we used to in certain areas like the changing rooms and lockers.
The gym will be open but we will encourage you to sanitise your hands before you go in. And there will be some cleaning equipment in there (spray, etc) so you can clean the mats or bars if you wish. The fingerboards we’d rather you did not spray but we definitely want you to sanitise your fingers before using them.
We cannot guarantee that everything you touch in the centre will be perfectly clean. We cannot clean the holds between every use for example, so can’t keep the centre to the standard of a hospital or a clinical setting. But we can give you the best opportunity to keep your hands clean, by providing hand sanitiser and soap, and ensure the capacity is low enough that you can keep some distance from your friends and fellow climbers.
One Way Systems
In order for us to minimise the amount of people you come in to contact with unnecessarily, we will be operating a one-way system through the centres. This is mainly so that when you are leaving you don’t have to squeeze past the people arriving for climbing and trampolining. We are setting up some of our fire doors as the new exits to help with this.
There will be signs around the centre, and staff will guide you but please be aware and help us to keep this system working.
When we reopen we want as calm an environment as possible. While many of you may be used to bringing your children to the wall, and your kids understand the climbing wall environment and social distancing, we do find that children disproportionately take up Duty Managers time when they are not supervised to the high standard we require.
So to relieve the pressure on the team for the first week or two we will only be open to adult unsupervised climbers. Under 18s that are signed off to climb unsupervised are exempt from this rule.
We will also immediately start to work out how much instruction we can do and how to do it safely. The Clip n’Climb has a self-clipping system so we just need to work out safe ways of kitting everyone up and we hope to provide 1:1 (or single household) sessions on the boulder wall very soon.
Face Masks / Coverings
So you don’t have to wear one, but we would encourage you to do so while you’re wandering around the centre (not so much when you’re climbing). Our staff will wear them at different times, like if they are in face to face communication with a customer or other staff, or if they are cleaning.
In some walls in Europe everyone must wear a mask unless they are actively climbing. And we may change the rules depending on government advice, guidance or regulations. But we will all have to remember that just wearing a mask does not protect us. Keeping your distance and good hygiene are the best methods to keep you and everyone else safe.