GoodLife Fitness encourages members to write Ontario MPPs in email blast

a large room: File photo - an empty gym.

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File photo – an empty gym.

In an email that was sent wide to its members, GoodLife Fitness is asking gym-goers to email their local Ontario MPPs as the industry is “currently facing serious challenges as a result of the global pandemic.”

“Between mandated shutdowns, capacity restrictions, and ongoing questions about the safety of fitness facilities, our industry is facing the most difficult time in its history,” GoodLife Fitness, one of Canada’s largest gym chains, said in their email with the subject line “Stand Up for Fitness! | Write a Letter to Your M.P.P.”

The Ontario government mandated gyms close for a second time in COVID-19 hotspot regions such as Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and, later, York Region as part of modified Stage 2 restrictions.

The closures are expected to last at least 28 days. The government said it will re-assess based on coronavirus numbers if it will lift the restrictions and allow gyms, among other establishments forced to shut down such as indoor dining, casinos, cinemas and performing arts centres to reopen.

Read more: Poor ventilation, panting can increase coronavirus risk at gyms: experts

“As an important contributor to the fitness industry in Ontario, you can help by sending a letter to your Member of Provincial Parliament (M.P.P.). This letter will serve to support the swift reopening of our closed Clubs and to prevent further closures in the province,” the fitness centre wrote.

A sample letter was then provided to members and addressed to Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod and Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams.

“We are doing everything we can to work with government and public health experts to be a part of the solution, and to help advise on the decisions they are making for our industry. In order to be as effective as possible in our outreach to government and public health, we need your help!” GoodLife continued in its email.

The gym company said the campaign is being driven by the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.

GoodLife Fitness is facing online backlash on its email.

One user took to Twitter to criticize the fitness company’s move use its members to lobby the government to get gyms either reopened or loosen capacity restrictions.

“Shame on GoodLife Fitness for emailing members to drum up support for reopening. Gyms aren’t safe even with all the hygiene theatre in place. COVID-19 numbers are going wild, it’s time to get used to working out at home,” one Twitter user wrote.

In response, GoodLife Fitness said: “our email is a response to the many members and associates who have inquired about voicing their concerns as our gyms have provided a safe environment for Ontario residents to use. We have taken many measures to help provide members a protected way to workout.”

“People breathing heavily indoors unmasked isn’t safe, no matter how many times things get wiped down,” the Twitter user answered back.

“Many of our Ont. clubs are at level orange which requires masks at all times except during exercises unless they are comfortable wearing one during a workout. With our social distancing in place and rigorous cleaning, we have found these methods to be strongly effective,” GoodLife Fitness tweeted in response.

Read more: Ontario fitness chains ask members from COVID-19 hotspots to not travel to other regions to workout

Another Twitter user also expressed frustration: “I was thinking of re-signing up at GoodLife Fitness when things reopened, but after the email they just sent to members, I definitely won’t be doing that now.”

GoodLife Fitness responded with: “We’re sorry to hear that. We’d like to learn more about your thoughts. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. We’re very open to discuss this with you.”

“I think it is foolish that you would spur your membership to reopen so you can make money again instead of lobbying to government to fund public health properly so they can properly contact trace outbreaks,” the user answered in another tweet.

“GoodLife Fitness shame on you. In the midst of all the numbers spiking, you’ve had to close a gyms due to COVID you email us and ask to email on your behalf to reopen? You care NOTHING about your clients with this showing. I will be cancelling my membership. Embarrassing,” another person tweeted.

“GoodLife Fitness how about no? I love going to the gym but cases are rising. Let’s put in supports for workers rather than exposing people during the second wave,” another person tweeted.

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