Fitness centres halt classes, switch to individual workouts to comply with new rules

Fitness centres, yoga studios and other similar facilities are coming to grips with a public-health order suspending indoor physical activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The revamped rules came into effect Monday night.

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“Everybody’s been kind of scrambling since then,” said Keelan Clemens, owner of BPM Fitness Centre, who belongs to both city-wide and provincial gym owners’ groups.

He said BPM is keeping class times and will fill them with other activities.

“We have reformatted them to be what’s known as supervised individual workouts,” he said. “So it’s essentially open access, members can come in but they can still benefit from the safety and guidance of a certified trainer on-site, while they’re doing their own workout.”

“We’re just pivoting in that sense and hoping that our members get behind us.” he said.

But he said open-access times are actually riskier than classes, because instructors can keep an eye on everyone and regulate them during a class.

Protocols such physical distancing, masking and sanitizing will continue to be emphasized, Clemens said.

Classes are an important part of BPM’s service and people will miss them, Clemens said.

“It’s the community aspect, they get to see the same people and have those conversations that are meaningful and create those connections.”

Online classes can be hard to pull off, he said.

“The market is over-saturated and so competitive.”

The situation with the broad restrictions is tough to deal with, Clemens said. “It’s tricky They’re not making it easy for us.

This is ruining small businesses and the fitness industry is no exception.”

Justina Bailey of Studio Fitness said she has been emphasizing online classes for months. People have been gravitating to the online content in part because it is local, she said.

Bailey said she closed her studio space but has been holding in-person classes at a variety of locations.

She said she might reopen in the new year.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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