GoodLife Fitness under fire after sending controversial email to members
GoodLife Fitness is facing some serious backlash this week after an email blast sent out to 175,000 members that outright urged them to write local politicians and ask that gyms be reopened.
The Canadian chain sent the message on Monday afternoon, encouraging patrons to send a letter to their local MPP to "serve to to [sic] support the swift reopening of our closed clubs and to prevent further closures in the province."
It then included a step-by-step guide, including a link to a pre-written letter.
"Between mandated shutdowns, capacity restrictions and ongoing questions about the safety of fitness facilities, our industry is facing the most difficult time in its history," the email also read.
"We know that these challenges are greatly impacting many of our associates and members... in order to be as effective as possible in our outreach to government and public health, we need your help!"
Hi Anthony. Thank you for reaching out! We are not urging people to petition. We have had many Members, Associates & people in the community asking for ways to have a voice on the matter. We are providing people with this information.— GoodLife Fitness (@GoodLifeFitness) October 27, 2020
Unfortunately for GoodLife, recipients were largely disgusted by the correspondence, especially given the fact that more than one of the company's GTA locations saw COVID-19 cases shortly after reopening in the region at the end of July.
There is also the fact that the union representing GoodLife trainers filed an official policy grievance against the fitness giant in September, expressing concern about the brand's plans to further loosen restrictions despite the fact that some outposts allegedly weren't following health and safety protocols.
Several GoodLife locations in North York and Mississauga had cases in recent months. Where is the logic for this?— Mini (@minimathews) October 28, 2020
COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario and the country at large are steadily rising again to never-before-seen levels, which has led to the shuttering of indoor dining, movie theatres, casinos, gyms, exhibits and more earlier this month.
The closures are to last at least 28 days, until Nov. 7, with the chance that they could be extended yet again if the province's health officials determine that the risk of community spread is still too high based on infections.
@GoodLifeFitness shame on you. In the midst of all the numbers spiking, youve had to close a gyms due to COVID you email us and ask to email on your behalf to reopen? You care NOTHING about your clients with this showing. I will be cancelling my membership. Embarrassing— Ian Hunter (@Hunter327) October 27, 2020
People have been wary of places like bars, restaurants and gyms in particular, where customers are permitted to remove their masks if sitting down to eat or drink at the former and performing physical activity at the latter.
The thought of a groups of sweaty strangers from all over confined in an enclosed indoor space also isn't the most comforting for those worried about a deadly, super-contagious virus, especially when such centres have been linked to COVID-19 cases and large outbreaks.
Shame on @GoodLifeFitness for emailing members to drum up support for reopening. Gyms aren't safe even with all the hygiene theatre in place. Covid numbers are going wild, it's time to get used to working out at home— Emily (@TooMuchEmily) October 27, 2020
GoodLife caused a fuss about gathering restrictions back when clubs were first permitted to reopen in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, asking the province to up the cap of 50 people for its larger facilities.
That same cap was reintroduced last month, along with more stringent limits on indoor fitness class numbers, before gyms were shutdown again.
@GoodLifeFitness people don't need to herd into a gym to be fit. Exercise at home is feasible and safe. Your willingness to put people at risk for profits is disgusting. Fuck off.— ImpeccableBrickBungalow (@MichaelsHedges) October 28, 2020
Meanwhile, gymgoers unafraid of COVID-19 have been leaving the province's hotspots to work out in other regions where gyms are still permitted to remain open.
GoodLife's CEO has stood by the controversial email, which is part of an initiative by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), saying in a statement on Tuesday that the brand "hopes to build awareness and help illustrate how important the fitness industry is to countless individuals across the province."
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