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Reopening B.C.: Health orders lifted, allowing gyms to reopen

Edmonton will start reopening city-run fitness centres in July.
Edmonton will start reopening city-run fitness centres in July. Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Three B.C. health authorities have lifted orders that closed gyms, ahead of Phase 2 of the province’s plan to reopen the economy.

Fraser Health says it rescinded an order closing all indoor gyms issued on April 15. Indoor facilities that offer services such as weight training, gymnastics, martial arts, yoga and dance studios can reopen on Tuesday May 19 if they meet physical-distancing requirements.

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Any facility wishing to reopen must develop a plan that follows safety measures outlined by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC.

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Prior to the order from Fraser Health, some gyms and fitness facilities were still up and running in the region, although most had already closed on their own.

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The health authority had received complaints about some facilities not cleaning properly or not following guidelines on physical distancing.

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Gyms and fitness centres in the Interior Health region are also allowed to open on Tuesday.

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Interior Health ordered the closure of fitness facilities in its region on April 2. The health authority later fined an Armstrong, B.C., gym $345 for remaining open.

Island Health said gyms and fitness facilities can reopen on Tuesday. Facilities wishing to resume operation must develop a plan based on measures laid out by the Provincial Health Office.

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A province-wide order to close gyms was never issued.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said three regions had ordered gyms to close because of “transmission that has occurred at those facilities.”

Henry said last week that it was unlikely that gyms would be part of the second phase of B.C.’s re-opening plan when restrictions start easing on May 19.

Earlier this week, Henry said gyms can open in Phase 2 if they meet safety guidelines and can look to reopen after the May long weekend.

“People who own gyms and fitness centres can start their process — and they should be doing that already to meet the requirements — and those who can, can look at starting to open, starting after the coming long weekend,” she said.