While yoga studios and fitness facilities remain shuttered under provincial health restrictions, a handful of boxing gyms plan to open in B.C. in the next few days.
On Instagram, Box 2 Fit said its White Rock and Cloverdale locations will reopen at 50-per cent capacity on Jan. 5 and 10, respectively.
The 30 Minute Hit location in Langley also plans to reopen on Jan. 5 at half-capacity, according to its Facebook page.
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Owners of the facilities declined interviews on Monday, but said they are in full compliance with public health orders.
In its Facebook post, 30 Minute Hit in Langley said it had consulted directly with the local provincial health authority.
Reached by Global News, Fraser Health said it’s still confirming whether boxing gyms have been given approval to reopen because they fall under the category of ‘sport’ — not ‘fitness or exercise’, which is banned indoors for adults.
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Last month, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered the shutdown of gyms and yoga studios until at least Jan. 18.
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The measure was taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
The order specifies that “adult indoor individual and group fitness or exercise activities” are not permitted, but “other sport activities that normally take place in a sport environment can continue.”
That includes adult indoor sport or recreation programs as long as they don’t exceed 50 per cent of facility’s space, along with individual activities like swimming and skiing.
The Health Department did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
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Since the new measures took effect, several gym, yoga and dance studio owners in B.C. have expressed frustration with the new rules. They decry what they say is a lack of evidence that shows COVID-19 has spread within their walls.
“If this data was proven and provided to us, maybe we could have a better understanding as to why we’ve been targeted, but it’s not fair,” said Jen Hamilton, CEO of Oxygen Yoga and Fitness on Monday.
“We’ve had so many of our members come to us, asking, pleading for us to open our doors because they don’t have an outlet to go to.”
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Hamilton said she hadn’t heard about boxing gyms reopening but is seeking more clarity from the province on the rules.
“All we’re looking for is to have an equal playing field with each and every business in this industry,” she explained.
She has spent thousands equipping her studios for COVID-19-safe classes, she added, and some of her franchisees have been forced to get other jobs to pay the bills while the studios are closed.
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