A chain of gyms in Ontario is facing a flood of feedback after asking its members to “stand up for fitness” by contacting their MPPs about the current strict limitations to indoor fitness as a result of COVID-19.
GoodLife Fitness sent an email to about 200,000 of its employees and members in the province, encouraging them to contact their local MPPs to push to reopen gyms.
“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,” the email reads.
The email, which was sent on Monday, included links to a downloadable template for the letter, as well as a website that helps identify your local MPP.
Some people took to social media to criticize — and defend — the email campaign.
GoodLife fitness wants more people to get sick and die in their gyms so that’s great
— Cinematological🏳️🌈🇨🇦 (@cinematological) October 28, 2020
Goodlife Fitness taking action and petitioning to open gyms again. Closing Toronto,Peel, York and Ottawa wasn’t stopping the numbers from rising. It’s been two weeks of it closed and the cases are at 1000?! Did they solve anything? Nope keep gyms open
— KB (@kevinxaguila) October 27, 2020
In a global pandemic, Goodlife Fitness sent me an email to write to my MPP to re-open closed gyms. THERE’S NO CURE AND YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT PEOPLE GETTING IN THEIR REPS ANS SETS?!?! https:// pic.twitter.com/fPUpy9mq4t
— Alexis McLaren (@alexismclaren) October 27, 2020
Shame on @GoodLifeFitness for emailing members to drum up support for reopening. Gyms aren’t safe even with all the hygiene theatre in place. Covid numbers are going wild, it’s time to get used to working out at home
— Emily (@TooMuchEmily) October 27, 2020
Currently gyms located in hotspots across Ontario, like Toronto and Peel, are not allowed to operate under Stage 2 restrictions. As of October 10, fitness centres like indoor gyms and yoga studios were ordered to close for 28 days.
Jason Sheridan, senior vice-president of operations with GoodLife Fitness, says the idea of the email blast originally came as an initiative from the Fitness Industry Council of Canada. He says that the email was sent out after hearing from staff and members who wanted to know what they could do to make a difference.
“They wanted to know how to advocate on the behalf of the work they do, or the need that people have to have that space to exercise,” he tells Yahoo Canada. “When the Fitness Industry Council of Canada suggested it, we thought this was a great place to go. We want to provide this service of physical and mental health for people who want to get back to the gym.”
Two-thirds of GoodLife club members had returned to the gym prior to the