Gyms can reopen in parts of Ontario... But there's a catch

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Recently, Ontario’s York Region emerged out of Grey Zone super-lockdown status and reverted back to Red Zone semi-super lockdown status. That means that fitness facilities can reopen again… ah, but there’s one huge and very significant catch: gyms are limited to just 10 — count ‘em, 10 — persons inside a facility at any given time. And you can bet your barbells that bylaw enforcement is watching these places like a hawk watches a mouse with a limp.

But this minuscule attendance number makes absolutely no scientific sense. There are tiny boutique gyms that are limited to 10 people, and there are gyms the size of aircraft hangars that are also limited to 10 people. Where is the logic here? Why isn’t the number of participants based on the square footage of the gym? Wouldn’t that be a science-based approach (and how many times have we been told that it is supposedly science that is driving all the decisions with regard to Wuhan virus protocols)?

I returned back to Fitness Connection in Richmond Hill to touch base with general manager Mike Mak. Mike is bewildered with the lockdown rules, which change like the weather, it would seem.

Back in December, prior to York Region going into Grey Zone lockdown, Mike invested more than $1,000 in temporary walling so that he could create six mini-gyms within his facility. That meant he could have 60 people in attendance. And this strategy had the blessing of bylaw enforcement.

But what was kosher in December is suddenly verboten in February. The number of participants allowed on the floor is 10. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. And the end result? Mike says it doesn’t make financial sense to reopen his gym, so it shall remain shuttered to a membership that is clamouring to get physical again.

The question arises: is the real problem the bureaucracy, rather than the virus? Most bureaucrats and politicians have never had to run a business. They have no clue what it’s like to make payroll, or how to run a profitable enterprise. So, really, what do they know? Actually, what do they care? They are safe in their comfortable six-figure jobs.

And get this: just a few kilometres down from Fitness Connection on Elgin Mills Road, there is a Costco superstore. It is packed to the gills, as per usual. So, you can cram into a big box facility to shop ‘til you drop, but you can’t hit the treadmill or pump iron at the gym? Why?

Of note: it was revealed a few months ago that this very Costco store had six confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to it. Was the store shut down? No chance. Check out this quote from the region regarding this particular COVID Costco: “Public health authorities are currently conducting their usual case management, contact tracing and workplace investigation processes.”

Alas, for those hoping to hit the gym floor at Fitness Connection, the agonizing wait continues. Maybe things won’t change until the region goes into Orange Zone lockdown lite — whenever that may happen. In the meantime, perhaps gym enthusiasts need to heed the advice of Premier Doug Ford: stay home and bake cherry cheesecakes. Yeah, that’s going to do wonders for the waistline!

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  • By David Menzies


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