The owners of Iron Energy Fitness Club in West Kelowna are continuing to take a defiant stance against an Interior Health closure order.
In a video posted online over the weekend, owner Brian Mark ripped down a four-page closure order taped to the gym’s doors for non-compliance with current public health orders, like masking and requiring proof of vaccination.
Mark said in a video he posted to his social media accounts that he wouldn’t discriminate and that the closure order wouldn’t work because he believes it is based on “facts that are total and utter HS.”
He also took issue with the way that the order was delivered.
“Interior Health came in the middle of the night because they know, if I had been here, it wouldn’t have been good news,” he said.
Since then he’s labelled the tactics used by the health authority as bullying and has asked followers to identify the employees who were tasked with delivering the order.
The health order at issue was put in place after gyms were allowed to reopen last month. It can be found on the provincial website and states that masks are required in “common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity.” It’s the same as in malls, restaurants and a variety of other businesses.
A representative of the health authority confirmed Monday that staff members had been there over the weekend.
“Interior Health can confirm that a closure order was issued to this business on Feb. 3 for non-compliance with current public health orders – specifically, masking, proof of vaccination requirements, and capacity restrictions for gyms and fitness facilities,” Interior Health said in a statement.
“Interior Health is seeing the highest COVID activity and hospitalizations we have seen throughout the pandemic and it is important for everyone to continue taking steps to protect themselves and their community by following current public health guidance. We also want to recognize the vast majority of gyms and fitness facilities that continue to follow these precautions.”
While a closure order was issued, the gym still has the business licence it regained from the City of West Kelowna Jan. 20
“The status of the fitness centre’s 2022 business licence renewal remains unchanged,” the City of West Kelowna staff said in a statement.
“We continue to work with Interior Health and seek direction from them in respect of provincial Public Health Orders; and, as these matters remain within their jurisdiction, questions should be directed to them.”
They say Interior Health provided the City of West Kelowna with a letter indicating that the gym was able to open under the latest provincial public health orders, effective Jan. 20, and it issued the 2022 business licence renewal upon receipt of the letter.
Previous to this, the renewal of its City of West Kelowna 2022 business licence remained under review until the fitness centre was in compliance with the provincial public health order or until the order was removed by the province.
“We have continued to work with Interior Health and seek their direction in respect of provincial Public Health Orders and to direct questions to them as the authority with jurisdiction in these matters,” reads the West Kelowna statement.The number of people in hospital in B.C. with COVID-19 jumped up again over the weekend, with another 41 admissions.
This raised the total number of people in hospital throughout the province to 987 as of Monday.
Two more people also had to be admitted to the intensive care unit, bringing that total to 141.
In addition, another 32 people died from complications due to COVID-19 over the weekend, with that number now totalling 2,707 since the start of the pandemic.
Neither Interior Health nor the city said what their next steps were.