Wed. May 18th, 2022

During step 3, a variety of indoor activities can be resumed with capacity constraints for outdoor events that are loosened even more.

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Ottawa residents will soon be able to return to cinemas, gyms, casinos, museums and other indoor businesses, while the county announces Friday that it will move to step 3 of its July 16 pandemic reopening plan.

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The announcement came after days of announcements from Ontario’s ministers and health officials that they would not rush the province to step 3 despite declining numbers of cases and improving vaccination rates. The original plan would have brought the Ontarians into the next phase of the reopening strategy on July 23rd.

“It’s time,” said Jeff Christison, owner of six Anytime Fitness facilities in Ottawa.

He was given a ticket by the city after opening on April 6 and remained open under Ontario’s Accessibility Act to serve members who provided medical notes that they had physical or mental disabilities and required training as therapy.

He has not had any other incidents or tickets charged since.

“We complied with all orders, we had weekly inspections of the facilities and never got any hassle from bylaw services, from public health, Ottawa police, from the city of Ottawa,” he said.

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“We are happy that we were able to help everyone in times of need, and we look forward to getting our members and others in the community back involved in us. We are happy to be here for everyone. ”

Mayfair Theater co-owner Josh Stafford said he was excited about the rapid reopening, even though it created some logistical challenges.

“There’s a part of me that would have been happy if everything was delayed to the 23rd, because that just means we have a whole lot of work to do in the next seven days,” Stafford said, explaining that Mayfair should get in touch with the staff and contact, among other things, popcorn and candy suppliers.

“We are ready. But it will definitely be a very busy week. ”

Elevate Spin owner Jessica Turanec said she heard a “big sigh of relief” when she heard the news. She was hopeful that it would mark the end of the back and forth shutdowns in Ontario over the past year and a half as more and more Ontarians become fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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So far, customers are eager to get back on their bikes, and Turanec said they also felt more optimistic.

“Our phones are coming to a standstill. Everyone is excited and I think it’s like a different feeling than the last one, ”she said of previous reopens since COVID-19 first hit the province in early 2020.

“We’re just really relieved.”

Turanec said the Elevate Spin would reopen for indoor classes at 6 p.m. 6 in the morning of July 16, although the studio has hosted outdoor classes at two locations in the city, as allowed under Step 2.

During step 3, a variety of indoor activities can be resumed with capacity constraints for outdoor events that are loosened even more. Starting next Friday, indoor dining can be resumed, while gyms, museums, concert venues, nightclubs and cinemas will be allowed to reopen. Open houses in real estate are also returning, as is personal care that requires the removal of face masks.

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The city of Ottawa will provide further guidance in the “coming days” on what municipal facilities and services will reopen when the province enters step 3, according to Dan Chenier, general manager of recreation, culture and facilities.

Indoor religious services, rituals or ceremonies, including wedding services and funerals, will also return in stage 3, while the capacity limit for outdoor spectators will increase to 75 percent of the usual seating or 15,000 people, whichever is less. Indoor spectator events can also restart, even if they are limited to 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people (even whichever is less).

Increases in capacity limits were welcomed by Stafford, who said the decision to allow 50 per cent capacity in cinemas, compared to just 50 people when they last opened, would be hugely advantageous as it would allow Mayfair to more than doubling the number of customers for screenings.

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“It’s a big bump for us. (It is) much better for our bank account, ”he said.

Jeff Christison owns half a dozen Anytime Fitness locations in Ottawa.
Jeff Christison owns half a dozen Anytime Fitness locations in Ottawa. Photo by Errol McGihon /Postmedia

Christison said the 50 percent capacity limitation for gyms and fitness was “fair” at this stage of reopening.

He already has “all hands on the deck” in his gyms to accommodate people with disabilities and to comply with strict restrictions and requirements.

“We are in there every day, fully staffed as they are,” he said. “But it will be nice to go back to 24/7 so everyone has access, whether you work at night, days. It will be great to be able to accommodate everyone again.

“It simply came to our notice then. That’s really what it’s about, ”Christison said. “Every other province is open and functioning, and I feel that Ontario deserves the right and the opportunity – whether it’s a gym membership or going to a movie or a museum. I feel it’s time for people to have a more normal life now after all we’ve been through. ”

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Meanwhile, there was also good news for fans of the Ottawa BlackJack’s professional basketball team.

The BlackJacks announced Friday night that they would be allowed to have up to 1,000 fans in attendance for their last three home games of the Canadian Elite Basketball League season 2021 at TD Place arena: July 17 at. 16.00 against Edmonton Stingers; July 26 at 19.00 against Saskatchewan Rattlers; and 4 August at 19.00 against Guelph Nighthawks.

The BlackJacks have played three home games this season without fans and will do the same Saturday night against the visiting Fraser Valley Bandits.

Priority access will be given to = “pre-purchased ticket holders,” BlackJacks said in a media release.

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Last season, the first for the BlackJacks, the CEBL completed a tournament and a playoff schedule at a venue in St. Louis. Catharines, Ont.

A statement from club president Michael Cvitkovic added that the BlackJacks were “proud to be the first pro team back in our country’s capital and first to welcome our amazing fans who have never experienced a game in person. BlackJacks fans have been so committed to the team online and now we finally get to show our appreciation live in a safe environment. ”

With files from Jon Willing

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