gyms reopening ontario

Gym owners in Toronto thrilled to get the green light to reopen

Gyms are officially reopening in Ontario at the end of the month, and fitness facility owners are thrilled that they can once again open their doors to the public. 

Premier Doug Ford announced the reopening along with a list of other restrictions set to be eased on Jan. 31 at a press conference Thursday afternoon. Gyms, along with restaurants and movie theatres, will have to cap capacity at 50 per cent until Feb. 21.

Like most businesses, gyms have had a rough go of it throughout the pandemic, with constant forced closures and last-minute reopenings creating financial trouble for many. 

The most recent closure, triggered by the highly-contagious Omicron variant, came as a crushing blow to owners and gym-users alike—especially those who rely on working out as a way to improve their mental health. 

"We appreciate that the government is affirming the vital role gyms play in supporting people's mental and physical health while also strengthening our economy and pandemic recovery,"  said Jason Sheridan, COO at GoodLife Fitness, in response to the reopening announcement. 

Blair Lyon, owner of CrossFit YKV, meanwhile told blogTO he believes this is definitely the appropriate time to reopen gyms.

"We are extremely happy with today's announcement and feel that is entirely appropriate to re-open gyms at this time," he said. 

"While we recognize the need to continue to respect masking and social distancing, to the best of our knowledge gyms have never been a substantial vector of virus transmission and with responsible management, the physical and psychological benefits of allowing people to exercise outweighs the risk in our opinion."

Jesse Bruce, co-founder of One Academy Toronto, told blogTO he is likewise thrilled by the announcement. 

"We're excited about the announcement today that we can reopen our doors at One Academy on January 31st," he said. 

"We've kept our members active and connected during the closure with our live OA virtual classes, and we're looking forward to welcoming our members and team back in person."

Some gym owners, however, such as owner of Elite Martial Arts Toronto Dan Novak, feel strongly that they should have never been closed in the first place.

"You would think I would be really happy to be 'allowed' to reopen, but  that would not be a proper way to describe how I am feeling after two years of being forced to open and close," he told blogTO. 

"The fitness industry has been deemed 'non essential' by the government when we are an industry that actually improves people's mental and physical health, and thus a boost to a healthy immune system. There have also been zero confirmed cases at my place of business, yet I have been forced to continually close over and over," he continued. 

"My students and I have spent the month of January training outside...[which] is proof to me of just how 'essential' our training is to people. People need us open."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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