Lethbridge gym owner ready to rumble against COVID regulations
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- Gyms and other recreational facilities are part of stage three of the provinces relaunch, but some gyms are ready to rumble back to life regardless of when the province says it's OK to do so and say they're getting a raw deal when it comes to reopening.
Canadian Martial Arts Centre owner Lee Mein is receiving mixed responses after announcing he will reopen his gym on June 1st with no additional regulations. Mein said he is frustrated with the inconsistent, contradictory application of some of the regulations already in place.
“People have the right to do what they want to do you know," Mein said, in an interview with CTV News. "I can stand in a store next to a person in an aisle putting up stuff on the shelf and we can brush by each other - that’s okay, but the liquor stores are open and I can walk by a person at the liquor store but a person can’t go to an AA meeting.”
The Alberta government hasn't announced when gyms will be allowed to open yet. But some provinces like B.C. already have, under certain restrictions. Since martial arts are a close contact sport, Mein said his gym already had strict sanitary protocols in place prior to COVID-19.
“We disinfect the mats every day - sometimes twice," he said. "It depends how much they’re getting used and who’s training.
"We have disinfectant and clean cloths for all the equipment to wipe down after every use," he added. "We have strict policies on coming to the gym clean. We have showers for a reason here: you shower before people train.
"If you’re sick," he said, "you can’t train.”
Mental health benefit
Mein said the main reason he wants to reopen his gym is because working out is an outlet many people use to improve their overall mental health. He hopes that by reopening, this will at least start getting people talking about how mental health has been affecting them. As his clients' trainer, he feels it’s his responsibility to take care of them.
“They’re stressed about their home life," he said, "about not having a job not having money all of this stuff.
"Mental illness is a big thing," he added, "and they want that relief and juijitsu and kickboxing does that for them and in training martial arts. So I’m doing this for the people - my members - to get this ball rolling faster so we can get back to normal.”
There is a chance the province will allow gyms to reopen by June 1 but if not, Mein said if he gets fined he will willingly pay the consequences.