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B.C. yoga studios allowed to reopen, challenges remain due to pandemic restrictions

Last Updated Dec 17, 2020 at 5:25 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

B.C. has given the green light for low intensity group fitness classes to resume

Despite province allowing yoga studios, fitness centres to reopen amid pandemic, challenges remain

Only 'low intensity' workouts, which don't allow contact or involve heavy breathing, are now permitted

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) —  Yoga studios and fitness centres are now allowed to reopen under new B.C. health guidelines, but only “low intensity” workouts, which don’t allow contact or involve heavy breathing, are now permitted due to COVID-19.

A revision to the provincial health orders issued December 14th says, “Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate low intensity group fitness activities may resume activities providing they follow the guidelines.”

These activities include:

  • Yoga (Hatha)
  • Low intensity exercise machines and cardio equipment
  • Pilates
  • Light weightlifting
  • Stretching
  • Tai-Chi
  • Low intensity Barre classes




Still banned until further notice are “high-intensity” workouts, such as bodybuilding, dance or Zumba-type dance classes, and kick-boxing.

Many fitness centres are only allowed to open to a fraction of their usual business under the revised restrictions and many will still continue to struggle.

Challenges remain

Carey Dillen, the president of Y-Yoga, says the latest safety guidelines mean they’ve had to make a lot of cuts.

“Our capacity in the studios, 70 per cent has gone away. Right now, we’re losing money, we lose money everyday so, economically, the numbers don’t work for the long term sustainability of a business.”

Dillen says opening back up means they’re down to 30 per cent capacity compared to pre-pandemic.

It also means they can’t offer power classes or hot yoga, which make up half their schedule.

However, she says ultimately they’re doing all they can to survive.

“We need people coming back and we need people paying for their memberships. We’re actually running fewer classes than we were before because we need more time to clean and we don’t have as many people.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people’s mental health has suffered and Dillen says, the work her business does is essential.

“We know we’re critical for people to weather this and come out the other side. We’re trying to do all we can do to make it through.”

That sentiment extends to the staff as well, according to Dillen, who isn’t going to make her staff hit the mats until after the holidays.

“They may not be there when the guests are ready because this period of time has been incredibly difficult.”

But, Dillen says she remains optimistic about the resiliency of the fitness industry and ability to survive the pandemic.

“We’ve been around since 2007, we survived the economic downturn of 2008 and I have no doubts we’ll survive this. We just need the community to come together to support the local brick and mortar businesses. That’s my hope and that would be my ask.”

– With files from Bailey Nicholson