ontario gyms doug ford

Doug Ford announces new restrictions for gyms and fitness centres in Ontario

If group exercise is central to your plan for burning off the notorious "COVID 19 pounds"... well, you've had a few months. I hope it worked.

New restrictions prompted by a second wave of the deadly coronavirus will go into effect across Ontario beginning at midnight tonight. They include mandatory indoor face masks for the entire province, appointment-only testing at COVID-19 assessment centres and new caps on the number of people allowed inside certain facilities.

Gyms are one of said facility types, as are restaurants in "hot zones" like Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, and banquet halls, thanks to the role of weddings and large events in driving up new infections locally.

Only 50 people will now be allowed inside any fitness facility at a time, according to the province, and group exercise classes will be capped at 10 people.

Fortunately for fitness buffs, gyms have not yet been closed outright— though they could be, in short order, if Toronto's Chief Medical Officer of Health gets her way.

Just minutes before Ford announced the new province-wide restrictions on Friday afternoon, Dr. Eileen de Villa issued a series of "strong recommendations" for stricter public health measures in Toronto, specifically, including the discontinuation of all indoor group exercise classes and indoor sports.

It's up to the province to comply with or refuse de Villa's reccomendations, but Ford made no bones during his press conference on Friday about how seriously he's taking the second wave.

Ontario did, after all, report the highest daily number of new infections we've ever seen this morning: 732.

"My friends, this is serious," said Ford when announcing this government's new restrictions. "We have to offer our full support and every power possible to help our healthcare sector fight this second wave."

"With the weather changing and more people moving indoors, the decision to introduce new restrictions on restaurants, gyms and other businesses was difficult," the Premier later noted.

"However, we will do whatever is necessary, acting on the advice of our public health experts, to turn the tide on this second wave and keep everyone safe."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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