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Sask. gym owners wary of closures as province ponders further COVID-19 measures

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan gyms face new COVID-19 protocols' Saskatchewan gyms face new COVID-19 protocols
WATCH: Starting Monday, new COVID-19 prevention measures will come into effect for fitness facilities in Saskatchewan. – Nov 15, 2020

Saskatchewan gym owners are paying a particularly close eye to provincial COVID-19 cases.

While some are breathing a sigh of relief in the wake of a health order announcement, they’re worried the worst could be yet to come.

“I was on edge like I’m sure a lot of were that we were gonna be closed again,” said Wellness Revolution Studio owner Candice Schick, whose adapted business already fit the anticipated new guidelines.

“We really don’t have to change anything. But if the numbers don’t go down, there’s a good chance the government could ask us all to do that again. We just do not want to see that happen.”

As per the announcement, all aerobic group fitness activities like spin classes are limited to a maximum of eight participants, and they must be separated by three metres.

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Read more: Person in 20s dies from COVID-19 as Saskatchewan reports 2 deaths, 181 new cases

But while not affected by the new measures, Schick is like several Regina gym owners arguing fitness facilities should be seen as essential services when future health measures are considered.

In addition to their livelihoods, owners are concerned closure could have negative effects on physical wellbeing and mental health.

“We believe health care is a multi-faceted approach where we work more in the preventative field,” said Trench Fitness owner Neil Tkachuk. “Speaking with a number of people that also means protecting mental health.”

“I’ve even had people tell me that in the past they’ve had suicidal tendencies, and that having a gym to access allows them to overcome those thoughts, and that they don’t have those thoughts anymore.”

Read more: List of COVID-19 school exposures and outbreaks in Saskatchewan

The province, meanwhile, has not concretely expressed plans for further restrictions.

Premier Scott Moe, however, did indicate Sunday that “further measures” are being considered.

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