Ontario reviewing gym guidelines after spin studio linked to 72 infections
The Ontario government will be reviewing COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions for gyms and cycling studios after 72 cases of the disease have been linked to a major outbreak at a Hamilton SPINCO studio.
Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe announced the plans during a news conference on Wednesday noting that the guidelines in place did not prevent significant transmission.
"When it first came to my attention … I made recommendations that the public health measures team reconsider the guidelines for spin cycle places and other kinds of gyms," Yaffe told reporters.
"Even though they follow guidelines there was obviously significant transmission so I think we do need to review the guidelines, and that's in process."
The outbreak at the SPINCO located on James Street in Hamilton was declared on Oct. 5.
CBC reported that forty-seven primary cases (45 patrons, two staff members) and 25 secondary "household spread" cases, such as friends, family or other contacts, have been linked to the James Street North location as of Thursday.
The province recently closed down gyms and fitness centres in three hotspot regions, with the most COVID-19 cases, including Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region. The new restrictions came into effect on Oct. 10 and are expected to remain active for at least 28 days.
As of Tuesday, Toronto has also cancelled registered and instructional programs including swimming, skating, dance, group fitness and wellness programs, hockey games and scrimmages.
Based on Toronto's medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa’s recommendations, all indoor group classes in gyms and indoor sports team activities in Toronto have also been discontinued in response to rising COVID-19 infections to protect the health of the city’s population.
Drop-in sports programs, table tennis, billiards, foosball and access to the City’s two conservatories have all been suspended as well.
But while the province is reviewing guidelines for gyms and cycling studios, it’s also reconsidering the ones put in place for dance studios — for different reasons.
In a message to dance studio owners on Thursday, Ford said he will consider whether they might be able to reopen, but has not given an immediate answer.
Sent to @fordnation @MacLeodLisa @JohnTory @BradMBradford @beyrima & @beynate in support of @pegasusdance & student Zoë Bennett. - Ontario Government: Ontario Dance Studios Unfairly Targeted In Recent Provincial Closures - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/E9yFTZ8u7q via @CdnChange pic.twitter.com/XMuKLobAaj— Lanrick Bennett Jr. (@myonlinelifenow) October 14, 2020
More than 20,000 people have signed a petition demanding "that the unfair targeting" of children’s dance studios in the Toronto, Ottawa and Peel areas be stopped.
"We are asking that the words 'dance studios' be removed from the modified stage 2 closures list where they have been unfairly lumped in with adult fitness classes," reads the petition.
"The new restrictions put forth by the Government of Ontario includes the closing of Dance Studios. Why? No other children's activities or sports have been named in these closures. There is no reason why kids can train in hockey, soccer, martial arts, gymnastics, cheer etc, but not dance."
The petition says this also impacts children greatly by taking away their access to exercise and recreation and is affecting their mental health adversely.
"I'll tell all the dance studios: I'm onto it, I'll ask. I will drill down for you because I think it's important," he said. "But at the end of the day I have to listen to the docs ... there has to be a balance here."
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