Quebec has given the green light for fitness clubs, arenas and indoor pools to reopen today. Isabelle Charest, the minister responsible for sports, and Horacio Arruda, Quebec national director of public health, made the announcement Wednesday.
“Physical distancing remains the rule to respect,” says Charest. “We have all missed sports in recent months, but with this new phase, Quebecers will be able to return to their hockey camps, gymnastics clubs and fitness centres. It is a return to normal that will have to be done cautiously, and we will have to make adjustments in the practice of our favourite sports activities. However, I am confident that we will adapt quickly.”
All facilities will be required to insure two metre social distancing can be maintained in workout areas and a maximum of 50 people will be allowed within any separately enclosed space. A system of access control to avoid clusters of people entering the facility is also suggested. While it is recommended that locker rooms and shower areas remain closed, it has not been mandated by the ministry.
Ontario Club Coalition seeks support for Lobby Initiative
In Ontario, a coalition of fitness facility owners is urging all club operators to reach out to their local MPPs to make the case for moving from a Stage 3 to Stage 2 reopening.
The coalition has created a Framework for Exercise Facilities with the support of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) as part of a strategic plan for government. A version of this document was successfully presented to the Alberta government resulting in fitness club openings moving from Stage 3 to Stage 2.
On Friday, coalition members were pleased to conduct a call with senior staff within the Ministries of Health, Finance and Labour as well as a representative from the Office of the Premier, to present details of the framework.
The group is also distributing a video summarizing the safety precautions and reopening standards at Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. The video demonstrates how the fitness industry across Canada has worked together to provide a safe environment for fitness club members and staff.
“We are asking all Ontario fitness club owners to get the framework and video into the hands of their local MPP,” says Perry Tucciarone, representative for the coalition. “The document is designed to not only encourage government to open gyms sooner but also show that the fitness industry is taking a proactive approach by providing a comprehensive framework to the provincial Health Ministry for safely reopening gyms.”
Tucciarone emphasized the importance of presenting a common front when approaching the government. “With a coordinated approach, club operators can support the national branding of our industry association and deliver established best practices and protocols to meet government expectations. This will vastly improve the likelihood of a positive response from the ministry.”
All Ontario club operators are encouraged to support the initiative.
A list of Ontario MPPs can be found here: https://www.ola.org/en/members
For additional information on the Ontario coalition initiative or further guidance on contacting your MPP, please contact Perry Tucciarone, Director, Business Development & National Accounts for Antaris/Merchant Treasury Services and Fitness Industry Council of Canada Board Member.