About 100 gyms and fitness centres across B.C. are taking part in Operation Green Light today, in defiance of COVID-19 public health orders.
Iron Energy Gym in West Kelowna post this message to its social media today (Jan. 18):
Restrictions imposed last month on fitness facilities, food, and liquor establishments, events and gatherings were to expire at 12:01 a.m. today (Jan. 18).
But media noted a change when updated orders with no expiration date were posted to the provincial government’s website Monday (Jan. 17).
Iron Energy is open today, after being fined and ordered to close by Interior Health two weeks ago.
“We’re trying to make a stand,” says general manager Kristy Gamblin. “The way that these mandates have been happening mores so with gyms getting shut down, small businesses getting shut down for that matter it’s not just us. Plus not really having the science to back up as to why. We’re tired of it.”
Gamblin says they want to show that facilities such as Iron Gym are essential to the mental health of its clients.
“We’ve had tons of people email us with their stories about what the gym means to them and how proud they are for us to be open. We hear stories daily from people about how the gym has changed their lives. Helping them get sober, get off drugs, get out of the bar, help with depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.”
Many other fitness centres are abiding by public health orders. GoodLife Fitness at the Capri Centre is staying closed.
“We are aware that some gyms in B.C. plan to reopen on January 18, against public health and provincial mandates, says Jason Sheridan, chief operating officer, GoodLife Fitness. “In our experience working with government and public health officials across Canada over the last two years, we do not believe that going against public health regulations will yield the long-term positive results we want for our employees, members, or the community. We understand how challenging and frustrating COVID closures are for everyone. Despite being disappointed with current restrictions in B.C., GoodLife is committed to following all public health mandates as we have done throughout the pandemic. Instead, we are focused on working with the BC Government to develop a reopening strategy so all gyms can reopen soon and as safely as possible.”
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will provide a COVID-19 update today at 1:30 p.m.