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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: How we’re addressing community health concerns

So much has happened in the past week, so we wanted to send you an update.  First off – we hope you are well and taking care of yourselves during this time.

As always, the health of our Whitespace community is our absolute top priority. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, we’re committed to closely following updates and keeping everyone’s health top of mind.  Thankfully there have only been 2 confirmed cases in Milton Keynes so far, but we know this is likely to change. We want to do everything we can to support our wider community and the Government’s efforts to slow the spread and lower the impact on our health services.

Given that this situation is likely to go on for the coming weeks and possibly months, we’re thinking about the long-term view – how we can best support our community’s health and wellbeing.  We want to continue offering you classes to help you relax, feel strong, centred and keep healthy during this time.  And so we have two clear focuses in mind;

  1. Keep our space healthy and safe for people to practice.
  2. Do our very utmost to support our community’s physical and mental wellbeing during this difficult time.

Here’s how we’re addressing community health concerns.

Keeping our space healthy and safe for people to practice

  • Cleaning – we pride ourselves on our high standards. In addition to our professional 2hr morning clean, we’ve increased our cleaning regime throughout the day, routinely cleaning high-touch surfaces such as iPad, countertops, light switches and door handles.
  • Props – while advice from World Health Organisation is CDV-19 is less likely to be transmitted via soft surfaces, we’re still taking extra precautions.  As from tomorrow, we’re asking all students to bring and use their own mats, blankets and props and removing eye pillows. If you wish to use our bricks and bolsters, please bring a clean towel (to place over).  We’re also offering 10% Discount on all mat and prop sales to encourage people to buy and use their own.
  • Cashless – as an additional precaution to help prevent the spread, we are now cashless.
  • Teachers and staff – as with customers, all of our staff and teachers are following the government’s advice to stay home if they have any symptoms of a cough or fever. As such, classes may be substituted or if unavoidable, cancelled at short notice.  Teachers will also refrain from offering hands-on assists for the time being.
  • Reduce class numbers – as an additional precaution, from w/c 23 March we’re reducing the number of spots for each class, ensuring there is more space between you and your neighbours – max 28 in studio 1 and 15 in studio 2. This does of course mean there is less capacity and you may not be able to attend your regular class. Wherever possible, we ask that you pre-book and attend classes that are not so busy. By ‘rebalancing’ attendance throughout the entire schedule, we’re hoping to support as many of our community’s health as possible.
  • Late Cancellations – we’ve implemented a relaxed cancellation policy. If you or anyone you’ve come into contact with is exhibiting symptoms and needs to self-isolate, please do not come to class. No late cancel fees will apply but we appreciate as much notice as possible so that someone else can take your spot.

Support our community physical and mental wellbeing during this difficult time

  • Stay healthy – there has never been a more important time to keep up our immune-boosting practices. There is plenty of research which shows yoga and meditation are some of the most effective ways to stay healthy, boost your immune system and decrease inflammation by keeping stress low. If you’re feeling well, come to class!
  • Schedule – with that in mind, all classes, workshops and trainings are CURRENTLY going ahead as normal. Of course, this may change. But, for now, everything scheduled for March and beyond is stable. You will receive as much notice as possible if this changes.⁠⠀
  • Private/Semi Private Sessions – during this time, you may prefer to book a private or semi-private session. We’re putting arrangements in place to make more of these available.
  • Virtual Studio – for those who do need to self-isolate for a while, we are working diligently to offer regular classes via online streaming using your existing memberships/passes. We’ll keep you posted on this as things develop.
  • Supporting our NHS – we’re offering free classes to anyone working on the frontline in the NHS (who, like all of our customers, are well and symptom free). If you know someone, please let them know and ask them to contact us.
  • Support for our community – if you’ve been advised to self-isolate and don’t have any support from nearby friends and family, please contact us. We’ll help organise support if you need groceries, urgent supplies or medication dropped off.  Or even just a friendly phone call. 

Mostly, we just want you to know that we are here for you. A wild variety of feelings may come up right now — fear, loneliness, anxiety, emptiness. Know that this is normal. Try to allow the feelings to move through you. Trust that they will shift and change. We are all very resilient. Keep doing your practice so that you can tap into the parts of yourself that remain steady, stable, content, and loving even during tumultuous times. Seek support when you need it! Let’s stay as connected as possible to friends and loved ones through all of the amazing modes of communication that we have.

We appreciate your understanding that Whitespace is a small business responding in real-time to an important and evolving situation. We’re in this “wait and see” situation together — our Whitespace community of teachers, staff and customers. We look out for one another. And we’ll get through this. For now, we promise to keep you updated on any major developments that would deem it necessary for us to change our approach. 

Take care until then.

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