Four Calgary gyms have been forced to close after violating public health orders aimed at decreasing the spread of COVID-19 amid rising cases of variants of concern.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued notices of closure for Sweat Science Boxing and all three Gold’s Gym fitness centres over the last week citing concerns about mask usage, physical distancing and group training.
“Proper one-on-one training requirements were not being followed. A group of ten adults were observed participating in a high-intensity boxing class led by an instructor,” read the AHS notice to management of Sweat Science Boxing, located at 1406 9 Avenue S.E.
The inspector also noted inadequate distancing between clients and one trainer not wearing a mask at the boxing facility.
Sweat Science Boxing vowed to keep its business open following the province’s announcement that it would be reintroducing restrictions to fitness centres and other businesses due to spiking variant cases and hospitalizations earlier this month.
“There are people who are vulnerable to physical health outcomes but there are also people in our province who are vulnerable in terms of mental health outcomes. After a year of isolation, a lot of them are in trouble,” said Mike Smallwood, a partner with Sweat Science, in a social media video posted on April 7.
“At Sweat Science, the reason we took the stance we did is to try and protect the mental health of the people who rely on our service.”
On Friday, they were ordered to immediately close the business.
The day prior, two Gold’s Gym locations at 124 11520 24th St. S.E. and 2638 Country Hills Blvd. N.E. were given a similar notice. So was the Gold’s Gym 109 565 36th St. N.E. on Wednesday.
“Proper one-on-one training requirements were not being followed. Clients and trainers were switching off working out at workout stations during the same training session,” said AHS in a notice to management of the southeast location.
It also said three-metre distancing was not maintained by individuals who were working out. Neither was two-metre distancing by those who were not “actively” engaging in exercise.
At both the Country Hills and 36th Street locations, one-on-one training requirements were not being followed and clients were seen working out without a trainer present. Three-metre distancing wasn’t followed at either establishment, according to AHS.
Additionally, several clients were not wearing their masks properly at the Northgate gym, said the provincial health authority.
Gold’s Gym Calgary took to Instagram following visits by inspectors to express its frustration.
“Everyday they change the protocols. All locations are temporarily closed,” one Instagram post read.
“It doesn’t make sense,” said another.
On Friday, Gold’s Gym Calgary said in a social media post all locations would be reopening, adding a lengthy list of protocols that would need to be followed at the facilities, including mandatory masking, three-metre distancing between clients and trainers and strict active training rules.