This past Friday, GoodLife Fitness Founder and CEO David Patchell-Evans sent an email to all Ontario GoodLife members. His message?: The Ontario government has made an “egregious error in judgment in delaying the re-opening of gyms.”
“As of Saturday, June 26, Ontario will be the only jurisdiction in North America that does not permit indoor fitness due to COVID-19-related restrictions,” says Patchell-Evans. “Gyms can and should reopen safely in Step 2 at 25 percent capacity, the same as non-essential retail.”
According to Patchell-Evans, GoodLife took meetings with any government stakeholder who would listen, sent countless letters, and submitted multiple evidence-based proposals that rationalized its plan to safely reopen its clubs. But despite moments of progress, he says, it became clear that “Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, and Minister Macleod have collectively failed to prioritize in the right to safely access fitness Ontario.”
For the entire letter, see below.
Dear Ontario Members,
For more than five decades, I have been driven by the desire to make Canada the healthiest nation on Earth, and to help everyone in Canada live a happy, healthy life. COVID-19 presented a challenge that few had foreseen and has highlighted what we lose without our in-person connections and access to fitness facilities and professionals that make the pursuit of a good life so fulfilling.
We owe our doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, and public health professionals immense gratitude for navigating us to this point. While there has undoubtedly been a tremendous degree of hardship and loss experienced throughout this fight, without the heroic and tireless work from these people, it could have been much, much worse.
The pandemic has demonstrated that there are a variety of factors that determine our overall health and quality of life. Whether it be proper nutrition, time with friends and family, access to medicine, healthcare, mental health support and exercise — it is an undeniable combination of all of these things and more that allow us to live a full life.
As we now progress into what I sincerely hope is the final phase of this pandemic it has never been more important to ensure that millions of Ontarians, like our GoodLife Members, have the opportunities they need to rebuild their physical and mental health. Gyms are integral to this and they can and should reopen safely in Step 2 at 25% capacity, the same as non-essential retail.
We are fortunate that nearly every province in Canada has recognized the importance of access to fitness clubs. However, as of Saturday, June 26, Ontario will be the only jurisdiction in North America that does not permit indoor fitness due to COVID-19-related restrictions.
GoodLife Fitness, along with other members of the Ontario fitness industry, have spent the past eight months attempting to offer our expertise to Premier Ford, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Sport, so that gyms across the province could be operated to ensure the safety of Members and Associates.
More specifically, since the reopening roadmap was announced on May 20, we have worked every day to convince the government to include us in an earlier stage. We took meetings with any government stakeholder that would listen, sent countless letters, and submitted multiple specific, evidence-based proposals that rationalized our plan to safely reopen our Clubs.
But despite moments of progress, it became more and more clear that Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, and Minister Macleod have collectively failed to prioritize in the right to safely access fitness Ontario. I am equally disappointed and embarrassed that they have made the decision, time and again, to ignore the role of indoor fitness in the maintenance of mental and physical health for millions of Ontarians, and I sincerely hope they recognize this egregious error in judgement.
The Ontario government has failed to prioritize your physical and mental health, but rest assured, our GoodLife Associates and Clubs are ready, and we won’t fail when given the opportunity to help Ontarians recover.
We are on the precipice of a new period of wellness and recovery, where, now equipped with the lessons of the past 18 months, we can begin to truly focus on prioritizing health from all angles, and make certain that everyone in Canada emerges from this pandemic stronger and healthier than ever.
We’ll see you soon.