National fitness association critical of non-compliant gyms

Just twenty-four hours after telling Interior Health they would comply with new fitness rules, the owners of a West Kelowna gym are now saying they will not be complying with provincial COVID-19 mandates.

“We made that decision based on a lack of data the government was unable to provide us, linking transmission to gyms,” said Brian Mark, Iron Energy Gym’s co-owner.

Iron Energy Gym just had its business license reinstated on Thursday, after submitting a safety plan that was approved by Interior Health.

Only a day later, the owners have seemingly changed their stance.

“We went to Interior Health and dropped off our safety plan. ‘We would like our termination revoked.’ They revoked it, and we drove to city hall and got our business licence back,” said Mark.

“Our backs are against the wall, we were forced into this situation. We either comply with all the orders or we don’t get our license back. So yes, we were complying yesterday and today we decided we aren’t anymore.“

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A country-wide non-profit association that represents more than 6,000 facilities said many fitness companies across Canada are in a financial crisis, and many are responding to that issue differently.

“We are at a stage where people’s backs are against the wall, and people are financially depleted, emotionally depleted and feeling physically depleted. People make different decisions when they are in that position, people respond differently,” said Sara Hodson, Fitness Industry Council of Canada’s president.

She said the work the fitness council did with the province was the driving factor in gyms being reopened in B.C.

“Our approach is to be calm, respectful, to work with data and science and to have a professional approach to this,” said Hodson.

“We knew the relationship we had with provincial health was gaining. The interest, conversation, and the action that was needed to reopen (took place) and that is ultimately how fitness was reopened in this province.“

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Hodson said all of their members are aligned with provincial health mandates. Iron Energy Gym is not a member of the FICC.

She said gyms that are publicly defying provincial mandates could be seeking attention on social media.

“Most British Columbians are not interested in participating in fitness with a business that is going against the rules, that is being that outspoken,” said Hodson.

“Every fitness company is looking to gain attention and groups that are defying mandates and are saying ‘we are standing up against what reputable and mainstream fitness companies are doing’ are simply people trying to seek attention.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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