ontario gyms

This is how some gyms in Ontario are able to stay open despite lockdown measures

Businesses in the fitness industry are among the hard-hit sectors in Ontario that are yet again facing forcible closures after barely being able to open at all during the last 20 months, and owners, staff and gymgoers alike are understandably feeling extremely discouraged.

As we all well know, the latest lockdown directives instituted by Premier Doug Ford and his team earlier this week include the mandatory shuttering of gyms, museums, movie theatres, event spaces, concert halls, sports venues, and the end of indoor dining at bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as new 50 per cent capacity limits at all other indoor spaces paired with new social gathering limits.

While some businesses are doing their best to promote takeout and delivery food and drink options in new and creative ways, and even opening up their outdoor patios in January, gyms don't have any similar alternatives, unless members want to start working out outdoors in -19 C weather.

While outdoor facilities are technically permitted, there are other ways gyms can stay open for select in-person service at the moment.

Under the new restrictions in our modified Step 2, there is a caveat that allows "athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics" as well as "select professional and elite amateur sport leagues" to train indoors.

There is also the fact that gyms can remain open to cater to anyone who experiences disability as defined under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), which can include, as one gym in Stoney Creek, Ontario has pointed out, "those who have permanent or temporary conditions or injury, and those  who have a condition of mental impairment, mental disorder or developmental disability.

People who fit this criteria will need to have a note from a qualified regulated health professional and must not be able to access the physical therapy needed elsewhere, the province notes on its website.

Inevitably, there may be a select few businesses that try to exploit this loophole, just like those that chose to remain open for normal operations despite lockdown measures earlier in the pandemic, when people were perhaps less angry about the orders than they are now this late in the game.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Fit Squad Training


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