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Gym, dance studio owners fear blanket COVID-19 restrictions

Last Updated Nov 6, 2020 at 11:48 am PDT

Summary

Concern is growing among owners of gyms and dance studios after some indoor activities described as risky

Some gym, dance studio operators prefer targeted COVID-19 restrictions

The provincial health officer said Thursday most of the concern around COVID-19 transmission remains in Metro Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Gym and dance studio owners are worried they may be forced to close up shop again after the provincial health officer called certain indoor activities, like working out, risky during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now there’s a call from some of those operators for targeted enforcement rather than one-size-fits-all restrictions, if they are imposed again, as COVID-19 case counts surge to record levels.

Mike Bozek, the owner of Ninja Sports Club in Langley, fears further restrictions.

“It’s concerning because if you have like a small spin studio or yoga studio that has an outbreak, I think it’s possible that we all just get painted with the same brush, like all fitness facilities, all gyms, rec centers will have the same restrictions or be forced to close,” he said.

Bozek added every facility is different, and they don’t all pose the same risks for possible COVID-19 spread, suggesting a 6,000 sq. ft. gym is different than a 1,000 sq. ft. yoga studio.

Meanwhile, North Shore Academy of Dance owner Dylan Steyns said his students can’t have their activities taken away again.

“We have to provide them with something to continue to stay positive, to get them out of bed in the morning, just to have something to look forward to in a time like this, with the proper safety measures being implemented,” he said.

“Indoor activities, and any activity, to me, pose some sort of risk. I don’t want to be painted with a brush — one-size-fits-all. I think what’s most important here, when indoor activities happen, and because they are inevitable — we are going into winter times here — is that the procedures that these businesses are following is by far the most important thing, as Bonnie Henry says.”

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The provincial health officer said Thursday most of the concern around COVID-19 transmission remains in Metro Vancouver.

“This includes group activities indoors. And we have seen, we’ve seen this with spin classes, in gyms, we’ve seen this with dance classes inside,” Henry said.

B.C. set a daily record with 425 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, surpassing 400 for the first time.

Fraser Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack earlier this week after someone contracted the virus. The owner of the dance academy has blamed slow contact tracing by Fraser Health for the outbreak, which affected more than 30 students, as well as two staff members.

Henry said the increase in cases was expected as the weather cools, and that much of the transmission is occurring among family members and work colleagues.