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gyms closing

Gyms in Toronto are shutting down for at least the rest of the year

Following the lead of a rash of bars and restaurants, a number of gyms in Toronto have decided to immediately shut down operations for the duration of the holiday season given rising COVID-19 case numbers and increased community transmission in the city.

A handful of independent fitness centres have taken to social media in recent days to announce their temporary closures, most of them wishing clients well until the new year.

Sweat and Tonic at Yonge and Dundas issued a notice on Instagram Tuesday night saying that "based on the rapidly changing conditions and increasing COVID-19 cases in our community... we have decided that the best course of action is to close for the holiday season."

The post continues on to say that the studio will continue to keep an eye on the present wave and plans to welcome gymgoers back on Jan. 2, but that all in-person classes — as well as operations at its attached nutbar café, Tonic Bar, Tonic House, and Lemon Water Wellness — will be on hold from today until then.

Spokehaus in City Place, Quest Health & Performance in Wallace-Emerson, Soul Fuel Fitness in Roncesvalles, and One Academy in Leslieville also made similar social media posts in the last few days, some closing as early as Dec. 19 and some staying shuttered as late as Jan. 3. 

Others have simply said "see you in 2022" to their members. Most are still offering the online classes they pivoted to earlier in the pandemic.

The popular 6ix Cycle has also decided to pause in-studio classes as of Wednesday, noting a "current lack of testing access in the city" paired with higher case numbers.

"Thank you all for your love, understanding and your continued, unwavering support. We will get through this."

The move is ostensibly out of an abundance of caution in the interest of public health and safety, but also in the interest of keeping the industry safe from future lockdowns, which may indeed be coming anyways after a new spate of restrictions was announced for all of Ontario last week.

With 50 per cent capacity limits now in place for gyms and all other indoor settings — as well as additional rules, such as a 10 p.m. last call and 11 p.m. closing time for in-house service at bars and restaurants — many businesses have decided that remaining over the coming weeks also just isn't financially worth it.

Add to that rampant potential COVID-19 exposures among customers and staff as the thankfully more mild but unfortunately more transmissible Omicron variant makes its rounds, and the choice becomes a pretty easy one for some.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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