One of Canada’s biggest fitness chains, Good Life Fitness, released a recommended game plan to open its 300 locations across the country before it’s too late for its workout facilities.
The strategy would see its centres take on half-measures, such as allowing a limited number of people inside its gyms during allotted times.
Other smaller, independently-owned fitness centres have a much more daunting task in trying to wait out the mandatory closures.
Elle Fitness and Social, a fitness studio for women, has been banking on donations to continue providing one-hour classes on Instagram Live.
“We wanted to make our classes accessible for our clients,” said owner Michelle Epstein. “Many of them have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
“We started a GoFundMe, we’ve reached out to our community and said, ‘We want to open our doors to you when this is over, so after every class could you offer a small donations just to help keep us going?’”
Epstein said the donations have been enough to cover one month’s rent so far, but there’s no guarantee it’ll cover all other costs moving forward.
“We have no idea what the future holds, we’re really are in a holding pattern right now — taking it month month by depending on the kindness of our community and clients to help get us through this.”
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Hetherington said he welcomes the half-measured approach suggested by Good Life, which would see some of their classes continued online — but others would take place in studio with physical distancing, thorough cleaning of equipment and more.
“If masks are something that we also encourage people to wear them, or if it’s taking your temperature before you come to the gym-type measure, I think there are a lot of question marks.”
Centre Ring, a boxing studio in Toronto, is even more desperate for the facilities to begin reopening — since owner Wayne Bourque said he doesn’t have the capabilities to take his sessions to social media and video conferencing.
“Digital platform is a whole different new thing, we just stick to what we know the best,” said Bourque. “But I cant go on too much longer.”
Saba Hassan, a condo tenant in Vancouver, said her building’s gym has already taken on those half-measures, allowing building residents to use the gym in half-hour time slots — as long as people signed up beforehand.
“We have a signup sheet for the week and you sign up for 30-minute slots at a time for one household at a time,” said Hassan.
She adds that there’s some trust involved in making sure others have cleaned up the equipment after they left the gym, but she also does her due diligence in cleaning the machine she’s about to use.
“I’m wiping it before, so I know it’s clean before I use it,” she said.
“I’m not taking on risks. It doesn’t hurt, it takes a few extra minutes to wipe it down before.”
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