A West Kelowna gym that operated in defiance of COVID-19 health orders is shutting down.
Interior Health won an injunction against Iron Energy Fitness Centre last Friday, forcing the closure of the facility for the next six months. Despite that win, gym owners vowed to carry on, business as usual.
That changed on Tuesday.
“We have lost the big fight to Big Brother,” one of the gym owners, Brett Godin said in a video posted on the gym’s Instagram feed.
“This is super emotional for all the owners. This is something that we’ve been passionate about, staying open here for a long period of time…we were forced to shut down. The gym is no longer open here.”
Godin added that they may also re-open the gym, following protocols. They said that previously when they lost their business license but didn’t follow through.
Until then the facility itself will be staying open and those who want to buy clothing and other goods in its store will be able to do so.
“We’re simply forced by court order right now and the owners will actually be serving jail time and (will face) criminal charges if we allow the gym to be open and operating… we have chosen, you guys, obviously to follow the court orders and remain closed at this time,” Godin said.
Gym owners had initially said they didn’t believe arrests could be a result of contravening the order.
The injunction restrains “Iron Energy by itself, its servants, agents or otherwise or anyone else to whom notice of this order was given from operating Iron Energy or otherwise not complying with the closure order.”
The BC Supreme Court ruling will be in effect for six months from the date of the court judgment or as long as the closure order is in effect, whichever comes first.
Interior Health launched the suit as a result of escalating concerns that started in September 2021 when the business decided to not follow health orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, including requiring masks and checking vaccine passports. In the months that followed, through multiple attempts to bring the gym in line with regulations, Interior Health issued 21 tickets as well as two closure orders, the latest of which was posted to their door Feb. 3 by a “process server.“
The basis for the lawsuit was in the Public Health Act, which states in one of its sections that a person must not willingly cause a health hazard, or act in a manner that the person knows, or ought to know, will cause a health hazard.
The suit named Iron Energy Fitness Centre owners Brian Mark and Kristen Mark, directors Cole DaSilva, Morgan De La Ronde, Brett Godin, Amy Webster and Brian Ralph. It also names building owner National Storage and Warehousing Inc.
Also on Tuesday, a MLS listing for the building unit was posted.