Interior Health rescinds closure order for gyms, fitness centres; will be able to reopen May 19

Interior Health announced on Friday that it had rescinded its closure order for gyms and fitness centres in the region, and that they can start reopening on May 19 if they meet COVID-19 requirements. Kamil Karamali / Global News

Fed up of not being able to work out at your local gym or yoga studio?

Fret no longer, as you’ll soon be able to soon stretch, lift weights and work up a sweat at local fitness centres.

On Friday, the Interior Health Authority announced that an order closing all gyms, health studios and personal training facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic will be lifted on Tuesday, May 19.

Notably, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that she didn’t foresee gyms being opened any time soon.

“I don’t see gyms being in the first or second phase,” Henry said.

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“We’re probably looking at the third phase if things continue to go as well as they have in terms of numbers of cases. Because again, there will be restrictions. Numbers of people, depending on the size of the facility, your ability to clean, not congregating in the washrooms or changing areas.”

That changed with Friday’s announcement.

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Interior Health said its chief medical health officer originally announced the closure order early last month.

“The order, issued April 2, is being rescinded in accordance with B.C.’s Restart Plan Phase 2,” Interior Health said in a press release.

“This will allow these facilities to re-open as long as they can meet requirements to protect staff and clients against the spread of COVID-19.”

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The health agency added that any facility wishing to resume operation must develop a plan based on measures laid out by the provincial health office.

“Guidance for facility operators and for the public related to gyms and other fitness facilities is now available on the Interior Health website,” said Interior Health, adding that facility operators may also contact their local environmental health office.

It added that additional guidance for facility operators will come from WorkSafeBC.

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— With files from Richard Zussman.


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