Coronavirus: London gyms and theatres ready for Stage 3 reopening

Hyland Cinema will be ready to open on July 24.
Hyland Cinema will be ready to open on July 24. Google Maps

Londoners and those in other areas entering Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan can get back to some normalcy with gyms, movie theatres and playgrounds all included in the next step.

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford unveiled plans for Stage 3, which would see gathering limits increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors starting this Friday.

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The changes allow restaurants and bars to open up inside as well as gyms, provided they continue physical distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The news is a welcome change for Moira Adlan, co-owner of the Hyland Cinema. The independent movie theatre located in the south end of London on Wharncliffe Road will be ready to open on July 24.

Read more: Ontario reopening Stage 3 — Gathering limit increasing as indoor dining, gyms permitted to reopen

“We are really excited to welcome them back to the movies,” she said.

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According to the rules around gatherings, movie theatres will only be allowed to have a maximum of 50 people inside at a time, but Adlan said the theatre is ready.

“We have known ahead of time we had to have the health and safety measure in place, so all of that is ready to go.”

Since having to close the cinema, the theatre started running a drive-in in its back parking lot, screening classics like Jurassic Park and Back to the Future.

“We have been surviving because we have a loyal base, and they have supported us by buying merchandise looking at our virtual films on our website, coming to the drive-in,” Adlan.

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As Hyland prepares for reopening, she said they plan to continue running the drive-in for those who don’t feel conformable going inside to see a movie.

Gyms will also be allowed to open their doors, provided they follow the limits for indoor gatherings and clean all equipment between each use.

For Gaby Copeland, owner of Jazzercise Fitness Centre, the announcement will mean more customers.

“We are finally able to have live classes. We have been doing Zoom classes and jazzercise on demand and we have over 70 people on hold or who cancelled,” Copeland said.

“It’s been hard to run a business like that.”

Copeland says the facility is in the process of mapping out squares on the floor, all spaced two feet apart. All members will be required to wear a mask until they get to their square, and the gym will not be running any classes back-to-back to ensure there is enough time to clean.

Read more: Ontario to reveal plans Monday to enter Stage 3 of reopening, sources say

She says the fitness centre will continue to run some classes online and will likely not open until after the weekend.

As things start to reopen, London Mayor Ed Holder spoke candidly about the need to continue to following safety protocols as the region heads into Stage 3.

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“It’s not guaranteed we won’t revert back to a different stage if we don’t maintain the results we have today,” Holder said. “We have had the results we had today, not by luck but by people being supportive of good health practices.

“The reason we are going into Stage 3 is we earned the right to be able to enjoy indoor dining restaurant experiences and some shows.”

With files from Ryan Rocca Global News