Gyms and fitness studios renew calls for Alberta to grant health order exemptions
CALGARY -- One day after many in the hospitality industry called for an adjustment of Alberta’s health measures, gyms and fitness studios are also questioning why they can’t open.
On Monday, multiple restrictions will be lifted.
That’ll allow Albertans to book in a haircut or a tattoo — what they won’t allow for is an indoor workout.
That doesn’t sit right with the owners of Grit Fitness in northeast Calgary.
“Right now, what people need is that consistency,” owner Brad Soanes said. “They need the ability to get out of their homes and get that therapy that they really need. Without physical exercise, it’s hard to be a healthy human being.”
Soanes and partner Thomas Chan are lobbying the government to grant fitness studios an exemption.
They’ve been closed since early December.
Larger gyms are also lobbying for the same thing, but Grit Fitness says they have a more compelling argument.
“We have a trainer, one big space, and (only) one client,” Chan said. “It’s all appointment only.”
Grit focuses on one-on-one exercise.
Owners believe that offers them more space to stay safe and fewer opportunities to break health rules bigger gyms may struggle with.
“We also contract trace and we check everybody’s temperature when they come in the door,” Soanes said.
Owners emphasize the mental health aspect of their workouts.
They believe the classes they offer keep their clients healthy, both physically and mentally.
Soanes says working out offers a chance to release stress and improve one’s headspace.
He also believes it offers an escape: one reason why he hasn’t taken the province up on another offer.
Under Alberta’s current health orders, one-on-one workouts are allowed virtually or at a client’s home.
Soanes believes those options don’t offer his clientele a chance to truly immerse themselves in the exercise.
As bars and restaurants also look towards the province for help, many health experts agree the next reopening wave could take some time.
It’s expected the government and provincial health experts want to study the data of the first reopening before proceeding with the next step.
Even still, business owners in multiple industries are asking for any sort of timeline clarity so they can prepare.
Owners at Grit say they’d love some idea of what the next month or two will look like.
Chan says the unpredictability of the situation is a tough pill to swallow.
“Uncertainty itself is one of the biggest problems we’re dealing with right now,” he said. “If I have to lose 80 per cent this month, make 10 per cent next month and then lose 100 per cent next month...it’s a plan for failure.”