Sat. May 28th, 2022

Proponents say a calm approach and scientific data helped fitness centers in their quest to reopen

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Sara Hodson did not expect to be thanked by Dr. Bonnie Henry for her work with health authorities on Tuesday’s announcement that gyms and gyms may gradually reopen on January 20th.


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The Ministry of Health’s new executive order requires seven square meters of space per person within a group class for both individual and group lessons. All group fitness and training classes have a capacity limit of 25 people. Vaccine cards and masks are required for staff and are encouraged for patrons.

Hodson, president of the Fitness Council of Canada, said she was just relieved.

“We were very pleased and relieved that our voices were heard and our industry got the respect it deserved,” said Hodson, who along with his colleague Carl Ulmer has worked closely with the health ministry to get gyms safely reopened.

“We approached our advocacy business in a healthy, calm way with a goal of understanding what the health of the province needed and to prove that we could do it and keep staff and members and the public safe,” said Hodson, who also owns LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, a White Rock gym that caters to those who need extra support or have barriers – whether physical or mental – to exercise.


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Restrictions on bars and nightclubs – which are closed if there is no food service – will remain. 50 percent capacity limits at venues such as theaters, sporting events and swimming pools will also remain.

Nicole Whitman, owner of the Coquitlam studio Yoga Generatio, said she is excited to reopen.

“All I hear from people is how much they need to exercise, how much they need that structure in their lives and about how their mental health has been affected.”

Whitman estimates her business has lost between $ 15,000 and $ 20,000 since the gym and group fitness closed Dec. 22 and is “cautiously optimistic” about getting up and running again.

Hodson said she, like other facility owners, was “shocked and dazzled” by the closure in December.


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“We reached out with questions and data to show the benefits of training,” Hodson said.

It included a 2021 Glasgow study that revealed that regular physical activity could reduce the risk of COVID-19 deaths by 37 percent and reduce the chance of being infected with the virus by 31 percent.

“There is no time like now to be active. Our work with the Provincial Government and Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office shows that staying away from fitness was a greater risk than the risk that COVID-19 has within our walls, Said Hodson.

“We go on eggshells, which can shut us down again at any time,” Whitman said. “That’s what we love to do.”

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