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Steve Nash Fitness World terminates all employees, citing coronavirus crisis

An email to Steve Nash Fitness World staff said all team members have been terminated as of Tuesday.
An email to Steve Nash Fitness World staff said all team members have been terminated as of Tuesday. Global News

Steve Nash Fitness World has let go of all of its staff, citing challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

An email to staff, obtained by Global News, says all team members at its 24 locations were terminated as of Tuesday.

COVID-19 outbreak potentially disastrous for B.C. small businesses
COVID-19 outbreak potentially disastrous for B.C. small businesses

“While the company has explored all options to continue operations and protect our team members continued employment, we do not see a way forward at this time,” reads the email, adding that details on final pay are coming later.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Third of Canadian small businesses fear imminent closure without help, survey says

Derek Ralphs, a longtime employee who worked at the chain’s flagship location in downtown Vancouver, said he received the email Tuesday night, describing it as “short and to the point.”

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The company had closed earlier this month amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ralphs said, but everyone was expecting to eventually go back to work.

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“It was definitely a shock, but it was more just a huge disappointment,” he said.

READ MORE: Semperviva Yoga permanently closes amid coronavirus pandemic

Speaking generally, employment lawyer Lior Samfiru, who is not involved in any employment law-related matter at Steve Nash Fitness World, says similar situations are increasingly prevalent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What both employers and employees don’t appreciate is that your employment cannot be terminated without consequence,” Samfiru told Global News. “Employment laws are not ‘suspended’ because of COVID-19.”

Samfiru says most terminations involve rights for severance, which can be as little as two months’ pay and as much as 24 months’ pay.

“The terms of their employment agreements (if they have one) can also change the analysis,” Samfiru said. “For these employees, getting this severance is extremely important as they will need money now, more than ever.”

The news comes as a recent analysis from the Business Council of B.C. says the province is headed into a recession.

The organization’s latest 2020 forecast amid the pandemic suggests the province’s economy could shrink between seven and 12 per cent.

— With files from Simon Little