BC FIC Coalition pushes for earliest possible industry reopening
As provinces force more temporary closures of gyms across the country, the Fitness Industry Canada (FIC) BC Coalition is continuing to push for continued dialogue with government decision makers to ensure facilities can be re-opened as soon as possible. A success in BC would provide further support to other provincial efforts to limit gym closures.
“We are frustrated, and we’ve used our strong connection with the BC government and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office to address our concerns. Given that we had been kept abreast of all mandates and provincial orders well in advance, we were clear that the lack of discussion and the sudden decision to close fitness was not acceptable. We also wanted to understand the BC Public Health data, and share the data we are amassing” says Carl Ulmer, FIC board member and Director of Operations for Club 16 and She’s Fit.
“It is critical to demonstrate how a temporary closure impacts us compared to other industries – that our businesses have memberships, expenses, staffing issues and a reputation to provide a consistent, essential service. We have shared the financial impact on our industry over the last 21 months, and how this new closure will significantly change the landscape of the fitness industry in British Columbia – that many businesses will not survive this.”
Along with their data, the BC Coalition have shared the personal and professional stories of local club operators, and the heartache and pain they have endured throughout pandemic. “These lockdowns have taken a serious toll on our operations,” says Ulmer, “and we have a staffing shortage that will worsen with this latest closure.”
According to Dr. Henry, infection through heavy breathing and aerosol is the biggest concern around transmissibility. The new variant not only comes with a larger ability to shed, it combines the larger shed with a higher ability to latch on and infect the host that came in contact with the shed. Heavy breathing indoors was a large part of BC Public Health’s decision to temporarily close the fitness industry.
The BC Coalition made several asks of Dr. Henry, with the following outcomes:
- Dr. Henry agreed to continue to engage with the FIC and keep them up to date on how the data coming out will impact the industry’s ability to re-open, as well as the timing of re-opening.
- Dr. Henry will consider 50% capacity and to re-open the industry earlier than January 18, 2022.
- Dr. Henry will sound her support of the fitness industry in press conferences.
“We were able to make a strong impression on Dr. Henry and we are confident that we are being heard, and she will continue to engage with us in the coming weeks,” says Ulmer.
In addition to the request to open as early as possible, the coalition made it clear that grant money offered was insufficient, and that more money will be needed to get facility operators through January.