While some B.C. gyms have been making headlines for flouting COVID-19 rules, the majority have been closed for almost a month.
On Thursday, they were legally allowed to reopen with COVID-19 safety precautions in place.
The owner of Okanagan Peak Performance Inc. in Kelowna was “elated” to welcome clients back to his facility on Thursday.
Chris Collins said during this closure his gym once again moved its training online.
“So it didn’t impact us as much as maybe a traditional gym, but we are glad to be back,” Collins said.
For competitive swimmer Kierra Smith, it means she no longer has to work out in her garage.
“It is great. I thought it would be so crowded,” said Smith, as she enjoyed her first workout back.
“I’m happy to have the gym right now. It’s just good. I’m going to go back into it slowly just to not get injured or anything.”
However, as gyms reopen, the province is facing criticism for the rollout of the reopening announcement.
The province originally changed a public health order in a way that gave people the impression the closure might go on indefinitely.
“I suspected it was only a holding term used until the health minister took to the podium on Tuesday afternoon to explain things, but in the meantime it created a lot of havoc and additional stress at a time where businesses are already stressed out,” said Dan Rogers, executive director of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry publicly apologized for the confusion earlier this week.
Going forward Kelowna’s Chamber of Commerce is urging government to consider ways to keep businesses open.
“Work with businesses that are likely to be impacted by the decisions you make longer term and instead of prohibition look at ways you can implement regulations to allow businesses to continue to operate,” Rogers said.
As she announced the reopening of gyms this week, Henry defended the province’s approach.
“I know that many people felt that we were overreacting. I’ve said this from the very beginning that our challenge…is to find that balance of making sure we are doing just enough to address the situations we are in and not allowing our systems to be overwhelmed,” Henry said.