Gym Hours

Welcome to Wallnuts’ patch notes!

We know that the burden of COVID-19 restrictions on climbing at the gym has us all down. We also know that it is frustrating keeping on top of when changes happens, what the changes are, and why a change was or was not made. We are working very hard to stay adaptable while COVID-19 continues to hold us back, and that means changing often. Inspired by modern video game software updates, we are going to try to use patch notes like this as a means to be transparent about operational changes as they are made.

As a starting point, we’d like you to understand the main 3 values guiding our decisions:
1. COVID-19 risk mitigation
2. Keeping the business alive
3.  Improving customer access to climbing

Last week’s patch notes:

  • We removed the open climbing time slots on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, and replaced them with booked time slots (see hours page for up to date configuration).
    • The majority of the evening open time slots filled immediately once we let people in, resulting in anxiety between staff and customers regarding who wouldn’t get in. This also resulted in frustrations while queuing, particularly when customers were checked in early.
    • Having ~1-2 customers a day come to the gym just to be turned away really sucks.
    • Open times don’t really work if the intake of customers happens immediately when the slot becomes available and fills the gym. This means that waitlisted customers are typically waiting 1.2 hours before a space is free.
    • We understand that booked times don’t always align with people’s schedules, but:
      • no alternative configuration is going to satisfy all customer schedules
      • we need to do bookings anyways on account of our courses and programming pre-occupying spaces at specific times
  • We made some minor scheduling adjustments for bookings to eliminate unnecessary gaps between all bookings and programming (see hours page for up to date configuration).
    • We decided to stop offsetting terrain start times. This wasted a lot of time, and didn’t function to efficiently stagger use of the cubby area upon intake/outtake. We reiterate our ask to customers to arrive ready to climb if possible, and to minimize time needed in the cubby area.
  • We designed and installed custom floor dots throughout the gym. Each is spaced at least 6 feet from the next, and each dot contains reminders of our COVID-19 protocols.

This week’s patch notes:

  • Effective today, we have a policy that requires our on-duty staff to directly supervise the gym and uphold distancing standards whenever the capacity meter measures 8 or more climbers.
    • This hands on traffic management is the best tool we have to mitigate distancing struggles/concerns, especially when looking to increase capacity and allow more freedom in booking bouldering vs rope climbing.
  • Effective today, terrain caps are expanded to allow equal booking slots for bouldering (now 8, was 4) to rope climbing (still 8).
    • The terrain caps were initially instituted to help facilitate social distancing with gym traffic. The success of this measure was both ineffective and is hugely inconvenient for bouldering.
  • Effective today, Rope climbing bookings must be booked with a minimum of 2 participants.
    • Prior to this, when a pair of rope climbers were looking to book when only 1 space remained available, customers would contact us directly and we would over-book the slot to fit them in. This method required us to promptly touch base with the customer to confirm, which was not ideal.
    • We decided to increase capacity to 15, instead of 14 as initially planned, and required a minimum booking of 2. This allows us to serve the same amount of people without an action item for the customers, another for the staff, and a timeline that delays setting firm expectations on whether or not those customers can climb.
    • If 1 space is available, 2 people can no longer enter the gym.
  • Effective today, we are increasing capacity to 15.
    • Armed with our new supervision policy, we believe it is time to bump up the capacity.
  • We continue to review the survey results, and plan to send another wave of emails out to ensure we touch base with as many people as possible. Following this, we will present the findings to our customers and staff with as much detail as possible. We have used some strong preliminary data to influence/reinforce actions listed above.

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About the Author: Leo van Ulden