Alberta fitness studios confused by COVID-19 restrictions on group classes, workouts

The Alberta government’s recent COVID-19 restrictions are impacting smaller fitness studios and many owners admit is a bit confusing.



Orange Theory Fitness ensures sanitization of all equipment.


© Jill Croteau/Global News
Orange Theory Fitness ensures sanitization of all equipment.

According to new health guidelines announced Tuesday, gyms all group classes aren’t allowed. Fitness studios, like Revive Lifestyle Fitness, can’t  do group training or semi-private training.  Owner Mike Du said they are only allowed to conduct one on ones, if a coach is involved.

Read more: The New Reality: The uncertain future of fitness studios

He says the problem is gyms can still have a group of members working out together, physically distanced. The trainer has to be kept outside the room. For Du, the logic doesn’t make sense.

“It’s hard for us to understand, part of it is about the coach pushing people in a way that’s high intensity and breathing hard,” Du said. “But there’s nothing stopping people from doing that if we put 12 people in there working out on their own.”

 

Guidelines don’t allow even a handful of participants to be led by a professional, even if it’s fewer numbers than a group without a trainer.

“As long as you have a group bigger than one you can’t have a coach present,” Du said.

These new rules are contradictory to the whole fitness model of some studios, ones that rely on the motivation of a trainer. Tricia McDonald owns Orangetheory Fitness in Airdrie.

“Typically we would have 24 people in here. But in this location we are capping it at 10 to 12 people per session,” McDonald said. “That means they are always physically distanced in the class. But there’s nobody coaching you into it anymore, so you have to essentially coach yourself.”

McDonald admits it is challenging but is grateful to be able to give clients the space to workout.

“To be able to pivot like this and stay open for them is so important to us right now,” McDonald said.

Orangetheory is preparing to launch a new platform called “Orangetheory Live” to adapt to the new guidelines.

“These will be coach inspired workouts you do in the safety of your own home,” McDonald said. “It’s not virtual, we are still connecting because the coach is there inspiring you, cheerleading you, correcting form and its much more than typical virtual workout.”

Video: Lethbridge fitness studio offers rent-a-bike program through COVID-19 restrictions

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Alberta breaks single-day record for cases as Premier Jason Kenney enters isolation

FILE - This June 9, 2015 file photo shows then-Canadian Defence Minister Jason Kenney in Warsaw, Poland. He is now the premier of Alberta. Alberta is investing $1.1 billion in the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, a project that Kenney says is crucial for the province's economy. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
FILE – This June 9, 2015 file photo shows then-Canadian Defence Minister Jason Kenney in Warsaw, Poland. He is now the premier of Alberta. Alberta is investing $1.1 billion in the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, a project that Kenney says is crucial for the province’s economy. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Alberta premier isolating after cabinet minister tests positive

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating after municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard tested positive for COVID-19. The premier is not known to have any COVID-19 symptoms at this point.

Transport minister Ric McIver and multiple MLAs are also considered close contacts to this case.

This comes as the province reports a significant increase in daily cases, hitting 406 on Wednesday, breaking the single-day record in Alberta. There are now 3,372 active cases in the province, with the majority of cases in the Edmonton zone.

Three more deaths were reported in the province, two in Edmonton and one in Calgary.

Ontario premier defends bill that would provide liability protection for long-term care homes

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was pushed to answer questions about a new bill that was introduced Tuesday, which would provide liability protection to some workers, businesses and non-profits against COVID-19-related lawsuits.

When asked about long-term care homes, and families of residents in these facilities being able to hold these institutions accountable for their actions (particularly after the number of deaths due to COVID-19 infections), Ford reinforced that the bill would not prevent individuals from suing long-term care homes for “gross negligence.”

“This does not protect the long-term care homes, 100 per cent by any means,” the premier said, adding that he specifically asked about that fact yesterday.

A statement from Donna Duncan, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association, released Tuesday, supports the proposed legislation.

“Long-term care homes care for more than 79,000 residents across Ontario and they deserve quality healthcare and safe accommodations,” the statement reads. “Liability protection is a necessary measure to stabilize and renew Ontario’s entire long-term care sector.”

“Without it, many insurance companies will cease coverage, as they have already begun to do, putting homes across the province at risk and jeopardizing their expansion and renewal.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath slammed the bill and its impact on families of seniors in long-term care, who are victims of poor care and management.

“Today, the Ford government tabled a bill obviously designed to shield itself and for-profit long-term care corporations from accountability,” Horwath’s statement reads. “More than 1,900 people have died in long-term care during this pandemic, shattering thousands of families.”

“Doug Ford didn’t protect them — but is now protecting the very companies that let them die in horrible conditions. I’m appalled at this move to deny families the justice, accountability

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Medicine Hat College │ Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

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