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GoodLife Fitness encourages members to write Ontario MPPs in email blast

Click to play video: 'GoodLife Fitness asks members to urge Ontario government to reopen gyms' GoodLife Fitness asks members to urge Ontario government to reopen gyms
WATCH ABOVE: Canadian fitness giant GoodLife is asking its members to write to Ontario MPPs and urge the government to reopen the gyms. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the campaign is receiving some backlash – Oct 28, 2020

In an email that was sent wide to its members, GoodLife Fitness is asking gym-goers to email their local Ontario MPPs as the industry is “currently facing serious challenges as a result of the global pandemic.”

“Between mandated shutdowns, capacity restrictions, and ongoing questions about the safety of fitness facilities, our industry is facing the most difficult time in its history,” GoodLife Fitness, one of Canada’s largest gym chains, said in their email with the subject line “Stand Up for Fitness! | Write a Letter to Your M.P.P.”

GoodLife Fitness said the email was sent to more than 175,000 members in Ontario.

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Coronavirus: Ford says he’s collaborating with mayors in regions with tighter coronavirus restrictions amid gym shutdowns – Oct 28, 2020

The Ontario government mandated gyms close for a second time in COVID-19 hotspot regions such as Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and, later, York Region as part of modified Stage 2 restrictions.

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The closures are expected to last at least 28 days. The government said it will re-assess based on coronavirus numbers if it will lift the restrictions and allow gyms, among other establishments forced to shut down such as indoor dining, casinos, cinemas and performing arts centres to reopen.

Read more: Poor ventilation, panting can increase coronavirus risk at gyms: experts

“As an important contributor to the fitness industry in Ontario, you can help by sending a letter to your Member of Provincial Parliament (M.P.P.). This letter will serve to support the swift reopening of our closed Clubs and to prevent further closures in the province,” the fitness centre wrote in the email.

A sample letter was then provided to members and addressed to Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod and Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams.

“We are doing everything we can to work with government and public health experts to be a part of the solution, and to help advise on the decisions they are making for our industry. In order to be as effective as possible in our outreach to government and public health, we need your help!” GoodLife continued in its email.

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Ontario premier urges regional travellers in pursuit of the gym to work out at home – Oct 15, 2020

The gym company said the campaign is being driven by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada who will also be sending the email to its members and employees.

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In a statement to Global News, GoodLife Fitness said through the campaign “we hope to build awareness and help illustrate how important the fitness industry is to countless individuals across the province.”

“We are very open to navigating this situation together and working to develop solutions that would allow us to continue to invest in the health and wellness of Ontarians,” the statement continued.

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada told Global News it wants to work with the Ontario government to safely reopen and stay open.

“We have had over 20 million check ins across the country. If we look at the published and known spreading events in facilities, we are at a 0.001% rate of spread. We aren’t perfect, but we are working very hard to support Canadians,” the Fitness Industry Council of Canada said.

However, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Wednesday that the government has been advised by public health doctors that gyms “are a place where transmission is happening” and the 28-day closure will remain in effect for now.

“And then we’ll see where they are in those areas,” Elliott said.

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Fitness centers in Toronto rally to reopen gyms – Oct 12, 2020

GoodLife Fitness is facing online backlash on its email.

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One user took to Twitter to criticize the fitness company’s move use its members to lobby the government to get gyms either reopened or loosen capacity restrictions.

“Shame on GoodLife Fitness for emailing members to drum up support for reopening. Gyms aren’t safe even with all the hygiene theatre in place. COVID-19 numbers are going wild, it’s time to get used to working out at home,” one Twitter user wrote.

In response, GoodLife Fitness said: “our email is a response to the many members and associates who have inquired about voicing their concerns as our gyms have provided a safe environment for Ontario residents to use. We have taken many measures to help provide members a protected way to workout.”

“People breathing heavily indoors unmasked isn’t safe, no matter how many times things get wiped down,” the Twitter user answered back.

“Many of our Ont. clubs are at level orange which requires masks at all times except during exercises unless they are comfortable wearing one during a workout. With our social distancing in place and rigorous cleaning, we have found these methods to be strongly effective,” GoodLife Fitness tweeted in response.

Read more: Ontario fitness chains ask members from COVID-19 hotspots to not travel to other regions to workout

Another Twitter user also expressed frustration: “I was thinking of re-signing up at GoodLife Fitness when things reopened, but after the email they just sent to members, I definitely won’t be doing that now.”

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GoodLife Fitness responded with: “We’re sorry to hear that. We’d like to learn more about your thoughts. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. We’re very open to discuss this with you.”

“I think it is foolish that you would spur your membership to reopen so you can make money again instead of lobbying to government to fund public health properly so they can properly contact trace outbreaks,” the user answered in another tweet.

“GoodLife Fitness shame on you. In the midst of all the numbers spiking, you’ve had to close a gyms due to COVID you email us and ask to email on your behalf to reopen? You care NOTHING about your clients with this showing. I will be cancelling my membership. Embarrassing,” another person tweeted.

“GoodLife Fitness how about no? I love going to the gym but cases are rising. Let’s put in supports for workers rather than exposing people during the second wave,” another person tweeted.

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