COVID-19: Peterborough gyms, fitness centres continue to feel strain of ongoing closures

BEAST Fitness in Peterborough announced on May 20 that it was closing for good due to the pandemic. Mark Giunta/Global News

It’s been another tough year of closures for gyms and fitness centres in Peterborough, Ont.

BEAST Fitness on Lansdowne Street is now closed for good.

“Unfortunately, the pressures of the pandemic, have proved to be just too much.  Beast could not endure this,” the owners stated in a Facebook post on May 20.

“We would love to have celebrated seven wonderful years, but unfortunately, the pandemic has just not taken us to that point.”

Over on Hunter Street, Full Tilt Cycle Studios is closed but its programming is being offered online.

“We have a virtual channel that is gaining momentum.  Our members can log-in for $13.99.  They can do our unlimited classes,” said co-owner Erin Marshall.  “We still have classes being recorded on and off the bikes.  You don’t need a spin bike to do the workouts with us.”

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Gyms and fitness centres are allowed to reopen for outdoor classes, capped at 10 people, in step 1 of the province’s new reopening plan, which is expected to begin the week of June 14.

Read more: COVID-19: Feds provide $500,000 to support tourism industry recovery in Peterborough region

They can’t open their indoor facilities until Step 3, which at the earliest is the end of July and even then, would involve restrictions that have not been fully disclosed by the province.

“We don’t know when we can reopen.  With the new stages, we’re not sure what the spacing will look like when we get to stage 3,” Marshall added.

The co-owner of CrossFit Ptbo on The Queensway tells Global News the phased approach doesn’t make sense to her.

“We’re able to control our setting — who comes in and out and everything is by reservation.  It’s safer than your grocery store or the splash pads that will be opening up.  It’s very frustrating,” said Ruth Cheng.

CrossFit Ptbo is also offering programming online during the current shutdown and will reopen for outdoor classes during Step 1.

That, said Cheng, isn’t easy.

“Lucky we have a tight group of people in our community.  We have people who are super consistent whether they’re in the gym or not.  People want to support us to keep us open after all of this,” Cheng added.

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“It’s not easy, as every month as people renew, we do get cancellations, too.”

Read more: What you can do and when under Ontario’s new 3-phase COVID-19 reopening plan

A Frost Dance Experience in Peterborough’s north end has only been able to open for five weeks in 2021.

That was in the winter before the current provincewide shutdown.

Owner Andrea Frost tells Global News Peterborough that overall revenue is down 88 per cent, although government grants have covered off about 20 per cent of those losses.

The dance studio normally has 220 students registered but now has less than 100.

“We don’t know what the future holds.  It’s not like we can snap our fingers in September and all of those students will come back to us,” Frost said.

“There’s still so much unknown still with COVID-19 and indoor spaces.  It won’t be a quick recovery.”

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Frost said the dance studio opted to not have virtual classes during this shutdown due to a lack of interest.

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She also notes it would’ve been too much for students who were already online most of the day for virtual learning while schools are closed.

“I feel awful because our teachers haven’t been in our studio for months.  There’s just a lot.  You don’t know if you can make it through.  I just hope that come September, they don’t put the same restrictions as they did during the last reopening,” Frost added.

“I have 4,000 square feet of space and I was only allowed 10 dancers per my space.

“It’s hard. It’s hard to keep going.”

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