Coronavirus: Gyms closed under Ontario’s emergency laws, but clients working out in garage with trainer

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Working out around Ontario’s rules'
Coronavirus: Working out around Ontario’s rules
WATCH ABOVE: Gyms and fitness studios in Ontario remain closed because of the province’s emergency order aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19. But as Seán O’Shea reports, at least one Toronto trainer is accepting clients in a garage even though the City of Toronto says that is not permitted. – Jan 26, 2021

The home is situated a few blocks from one of Canada’s most prestigious all-boys schools; a brown brick multi-unit dwelling in Toronto’s tony Forest Hill South neighbourhood with a prominent front double garage. 

But no cars are parked inside the garage, the vehicles are both on the driveway instead. Inside, fitness expert Larry Track is training his clients individually or in pairs with the door drawn low, even though Ontario’s pandemic emergency orders prohibit this kind of business from operating at the moment because of COVID-19

“It is important for people to follow the rules, it’s important that this operation not continue to operate,” said Carleton Grant, executive director of municipal licensing and standards for the City of Toronto. 

Global News received an email tip Track was skirting the rules. 

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“Larry Track is operating his business… and has been since the beginning of the lockdown. He has six to 10 clients per day, sometimes with two or three people together at once, in his small garage. Larry does not sanitize or wear a mask while in sessions or at all,” the email read in part. 

Track is no stranger to controversy. In 2014, Track was sued by the former owner of the Toronto Argonauts alleging he failed to comply with the terms of a loan agreement. 

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In 2019, Global News reported on what happened when Track suddenly closed his Forest Hill Village gym, Track Fitness, without warning. He had just finished selling clients thousands of dollars worth of workout classes that couldn’t be used. 

When confronted at the time, Track said he couldn’t comment. 

Click to play video: 'Toronto fitness club owner takes Global News for a long walk'
Toronto fitness club owner takes Global News for a long walk

Clients said he didn’t offer refunds or provide class access when he subsequently set up another gym, The Werkout. 

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Asked by Global News why he refused to satisfy paid-up customers, Track had nothing to say. Instead, he walked silently with a Global News crew for about 13 minutes. 

After receiving the tip that Track was training clients in the garage, Global News verified it was true. Watching from the street for several hours over two days, six clients were observed entering and leaving the garage and some were seen carrying running shoes and water bottles. 

The garage door was usually kept mostly closed, although on one occasion Track was training a client with the door half-open.

READ MORE: Ontario government’s stay-at-home order now in effect

When a Global News crew arrived to ask Track about the business operation after he lifted the door, Track slammed it closed and ushered the client to his car by a rear entrance. 

Upon his return, Track did not deny he was training clients inside. He said he thought it was permitted. 

For several minutes, Track then berated the reporter, claiming the previous Global News stories had harmed him. 

“You’re an awful person, an awful reporter. You’re an embarrassment to the reporting world,” Track said, having approached the crew three times without any prompting. 

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“You’re a complete moron, an idiot, you’re a piece of crap.”

The City of Toronto reported only receiving a few complaints about fitness operators continuing to operate despite the emergency order. However, there have been many complaints about nail salons and tanning salons operating in violation of the law.

“It’s important to get the message out that these businesses are not permitted to operate at this time,” said Grant. 

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