Coronavirus: Alberta looking at whether gyms could open earlier than planned

Alberta considering allowing gyms to open earlier than planned
WATCH: The province is considering opening gyms sooner than planned. Dr. Deena Hinshaw talked about the possibility Wednesday during a Facebook live town hall. Nicole Stillger reports.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said the province is considering reopening gyms sooner than originally planned.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw talked about the possibility during a Facebook live town hall with Premier Jason Kenney and other ministers on Wednesday.

“We’ve certainly heard a lot of requests for reconsidering,” Hinshaw said.

“We know B.C. has moved ahead with gyms in an earlier phase.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta phased relaunch strategy will see some restrictions eased Friday

In the original relaunch strategy, gyms were part of Stage 3, along with recreation facilities, nightclubs and the return of concerts.

“That would be something my team and ministry is looking at right now and something we will be bringing forward to the Emergency Management Cabinet Committee for consideration in an alternate stage, if possible,” Hinshaw said.

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Alberta boutique fitness studios want to open earlier amid COVID-19
Alberta boutique fitness studios want to open earlier amid COVID-19

She noted they’re looking at evidence of the risks around group exercise.

“Reading an article… significant outbreaks have been seen in things like Zumba classes, high-intensity fitness classes, as opposed to things like Pilates or yoga,” Hinshaw said.

At Sturgeon Valley Athletic Club, renovations are underway to allow people to workout in a safe environment.

READ MORE: Edmonton playgrounds and zoo to reopen, paid parking coming back as relaunch continues

“We took the opportunity, if you will, to see that silver lining and we’ve made that space so we can space out our gym,” general manager Danielle Smith said.

She said the gym is ready to reopen as soon as it gets the green light.

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“We know people really want to come back in for everything this place and the gym community means to them, but also for their mental and physical health.”

READ MORE: Some smaller Alberta gyms want to open earlier in COVID-19 relaunch

Jordan Jeske owns a boutique gym called The Projct.

He said being appointment-based means it’s easier to control the possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Even like one-on-one training —  it’s spacing everybody out,” Jeske explained.

“Group classes we can usually fit 18 to 24, but maybe we drop it down to six or 10 or eight. We have enough equipment here that everyone can have their own.”

READ MORE: Province to decide Friday whether Calgary, Brooks will move to next phase of Stage 1 relaunch

With some restrictions on outdoor gatherings eased last week, Jeske is hosting his first outdoor boot camp this weekend since the pandemic started. He said it sold out in under an hour.

“We just want to see our community,” Jeske said.

“We are having it at the parking lot at the gym so we can kind of use each stall as a space to really spread people out, but it makes a big difference mentally for our clients.”

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