Southside Gym no-shows: Why?

When the pandemic began, public places, such as the Southside Fitness Center, closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. On June 15, the gym reopened with an appointment-based system for active duty military members only. Yet, within the first week, there were numerous no-shows.

Why?

“We’re currently trying to figure that out,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Whiteman, 786th Force Support Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of the Southside Fitness Center. “From what we can tell, it’s people making appointments multiple days in a row and for a week at a time. They plan on coming to the fitness center, but they change their mind or forget they made the appointment.”

Photo by Impact Photography/Shutterstock.com

Considering only active duty military are allowed in the fitness center at this time, it may come as a surprise to know there’s a weekly no-show rate of 27.2 percent.

“Our staff went through a lot of man hours and manpower to get the facility ready to meet the host nation’s guidance and ensure we can open up,” Whiteman said. “Being that we were the number one requested facility to reopen — and not just southside, but fitness as a whole — to see an almost 30 percent no-show rate is disheartening for the staff.”


If you need to cancel an appointment, it’s as easy as dialing your phone or pulling up your confirmation email. A 24 hour notice is required, as same-day cancellation slots can’t be filled.

“Anytime you make an appointment on Appointment-Plus, it sends you an email,” Whiteman said. “In that email, there’s a link for you to cancel. Customers can also call us and we can cancel their reservation for them.”

People may have many reasons for not showing up. However, it’s important to remember the unused appointment slots could have gone to someone else.


“It’s a limited capability,” Whiteman said. “At Southside, we’re only authorized 60 people per hour and only six hours per day. Every appointment that’s missed is the potential for another member to come to the gym and work out.”

This week alone, more than 400 appointments have been lost to no-shows. Slots are available every day and Whiteman says it isn’t necessary to schedule appointments at the same time for the whole week.

“I think if people get away from doing that, or at least print out their appointments from AppointmentPlus, it’ll help remind them,” he said.

It isn’t just Air Force active duty members missing their appointments, either. Ramstein hosts Army and NATO active duty members as well.

As far as consequences go, it’s up to the individuals’ leadership to oversee corrective action.

“Every week, we send up a detailed list of the member’s unit, rank and name to the mission support group, who then forwards it out to the other group commanders for them to take care of their subordinates.”

Remember, everyone is doing their part to adhere to the host nation’s guidance on COVID-19 restrictions. This is a difficult time, but it’s up to each individual to hold themselves accountable and to be a wingman whenever possible.

“In the first two days, we had 179 no-shows,” Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, said during a recent town hall. “Please work with us because, right now, we’re active duty only. We want to be able to open up to our GS civilians, our family members and retirees here in the community, but I’ve got to make sure we meet the bandwidth needs.”

Physical fitness tests open up in October, August said. Part of the ability to give those tests are linked with the fitness center being open.

“Please help the whole team,” August said. “Check six for your wingmen and make sure they show up to their appointments on time. Supervisors, if they’ve scheduled an appointment, please let them go to those appointments so we can service the entire population.”

In short, if you don’t plan on responsibly using the gym’s limited time, don’t make an appointment.