METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C. parents who want Gold’s Gym to watch their kids while they workout will have to make sure their children are vaccinated. The business will not allow parents to use its Kids Club childminding service at its Metro Vancouver locations if the children haven’t had their shots.
It’s all out of an abundance of caution over outbreaks of measles in Metro Vancouver that have affected 13 people so far this year.
“We were not going to be part of the reason why the disease is spreading,” gym general manager Andrew Uy said. “At the end of the day we are a health club and there is a huge point of contact for the potential spreading of the disease.”
Gold’s Gym has Kid’s Club at three of its four locations, including Port Coquitlam, Langley and West Broadway in Vancouver. All the clubs are closed Monday and Tuesday this week so the spaces can be disinfected ahead of the policy change.
Starting Wednesday, parents will have to prove their kids are vaccinated if they want to drop their kids off at any of those locations.
Babies that are too young to receive the shot will not be allowed to use the gym’s daycare service until further notice.
“We have no reason to belief [sic] our facilities have been affected by the recent outbreak but as Leaders in the Health and Wellness Industry it is our obligation to ensure all steps are taken to provide our membership with a first-class service,” a statement from Gold’s Gym read.
“We would like to thank you everyone for the overwhelming feedback that has been received since our posting on the weekend. The steps that have been taken are strictly precautionary as we have no reason to believe of any of our facilities, staff or members have been affected by the recent measles outbreak,” read the statement. “We are not naive to the fact that some individuals may not agree with our initiative but hope other businesses that are in support of minimizing the impact of this public health crisis take adequate precautionary measures as well.”
While Uy says the response has been overwhelmingly positive, he said anyone who wishes to cancel their membership because of this decision can contact the gym.
“It may go against the grain of what some people believe. We understand that everyone has their right to immunize or not immunize, but it’s more so that we want to prevent any sort of spread of the disease,” he said.
Richard Truscott with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says it’s a good move for any business that involves children, and the law would likely consider it a reasonable move.
“A local gym that has a childcare facility … they appear to be fully within their rights to be expecting parents to be showing vaccination records,” he said.
But he says you shouldn’t worry about every business requiring vaccination records. “A children’s clothing store — where all kinds of people are going in to purchase clothing — that doesn’t seem like a reasonable expectation that people would have to show their vaccination records.”
“In the case of a place like Gold’s Gym, where they have a childcare facility, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to expect that the patrons — if they drop their children off there — are vaccinating those children. If they’re not, they can find some other place to take their children. Because they’re putting other individuals at risk,” he added.
Truscott says business owners’ rights are usually safe, provided they are taking reasonable and necessary steps on the advice of public health authorities. “That they’re using evidence-based information and strategies and solutions. I think business owners are on some pretty solid ground.”
Uy said the gym has informal discussions with lawyers before making the changes.
If businesses have doubts about whether they should implement such a policy, Truscott recommends owners reach out to a lawyer.
“Figure out exactly what their rights and responsibilities are. It’s important that they know the basics on these issues. They are very important public health issues and business owners could get themselves into a sticky situation if they are not fully onside of what the general guidelines and rules are and what the advice from public health authorities is.”
He says many daycare operators have been requesting vaccination records for years, “but it is new to see this extending beyond that, to see athletic facilities and gyms and other types of businesses now implementing these sorts of rules.”
Truscott feels it makes sense for businesses to do this.
“We want to make sure that people are protected — if public health authorities are telling us that vaccinations are important, that businesses are part of the solution to make sure people are safe and protected, especially children.”