Nova Scotia fitness business requests exemption to stay open amid COVID-19

The owner of a fitness facility in Halifax has written a letter to the province asking for an exemption to stay open out of concern for his clients.



a desktop computer sitting on top of a chair: Image of OneUp Fitness.


© Global/Ashley Fields
Image of OneUp Fitness.

The owner of OneUp Fitness, Matt Mombourquette, said what sets his facility apart from other commercial gyms is its small size, one-on-one, appointment based-training. Its average demographic is people aged 55 and up.

“A lot of our clients have chronic health conditions, such as osteoporosis, orthopedic pain, we have some clients with Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy,” said Mombourquette.

So when the province announced a second round of lockdown for fitness facilities, Mombourquette said he was concerned for his aging clientele.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 37 new cases of COVID-19, shuts down bars, gyms

Between the facility’s Halifax and Bedford studios, Mombourquette said, they see roughly 150 clients per week, but fewer than half took up virtual classes when their doors closed in March.

“When they came back and we opened our doors again in June, we could see a lot of deterioration. They shared that they had a lot of physical challenges; they felt weaker, and some of them had some depression,” he said.

This is when he decided to write the letter to see if there was “some wiggle room” that existed for their facility.

On Tuesday, Dr. Robert Strang, chief medial officer of Nova Scotia, said there will be no exceptions to the rule.

“Our goal is to remain very tight for the shortest time possible, and every time we give an exception it creates another opportunity for a breakthrough that might then be the reason why we have to extend,” Strang said.

Trail use has increased during the coronavirus pandemic

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It’s a decision Mombourquette respects but says he’s frustrated by.

“I think everybody understands that exercise does have a big impact on positive immunity and keeping us safe from this current pandemic and potentially future ones,” he said.

One of Mombourquette’s clients is Jason Roth, a 70-year-old Halifax man, who has been coming to OneUp Fitness twice a week for the past 15 years. He tells Global News his health took a hit when the facility’s doors closed in March due to COVID-19.

“In terms of the sense of being in shape and fitness, I would say was about 50 per cent as effective as it had been,” said Roth.

He says he’s been to other, larger gyms and OneUp Fitness is different. He doesn’t believe it should be lumped into the same category.

“I’m not surrounded by a lot of people, equipment is immediately wiped down, people are in and people are out,” he said.

“That distinction between eating establishments and drive thru establishments, I think, would fit as a distinction between OneUp and the average gym.”

Fitness centre owner hoping to stay open amid COVID-19 closures

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Roth said that if an exemption were to be granted, he would gladly

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NE China to open herbal medicine industrial park

(MENAFN) Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province has exported an industrial park processing herbal medicines imported from Russia.

According to local officials, the industrial park in the Suifenhe sub-area of the Heilongjiang Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has seen the registration of six herbal medicine processing companies.

The park will have an annual medicine processing capacity of 165,000 tonnes, with an overall investment of 339 million yuan (about 51.46 million U.S. dollars),

A new policy allows herbal medicines, such as ginseng and licorice, from Russia to be processed in the Suifenhe area of the FTZ.

Imported drugs can be unloaded, primarily processed and sold directly in Suifenhe, thus helping companies reduce costs, said Wang Tengli, general manager of a local pharmaceutical trading company with an annual processing capacity of 2,000 tonnes.

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Top fitness executives are fighting to keep gyms open amid coronavirus

  • As of Thursday, four states — including Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington — re-issued state-mandated shutdowns requiring gyms to temporarily close to halt the spread of the virus.
  • In conversations with Business Insider, the chief executives of Life Time Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, and Retro Fitness make their case for leaving fitness centers open and explain why they believe closing them is a threat to public health. 
  • “If you look at a macro level, what’s frustrating to us is this country has a health problem and it’s not just COVID,” said Self Esteem Brands Chuck Runyon. “There is no better time for health officials around the country to remind people to take control of our health.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

While the pandemic has put a damper on Thanksgiving plans for many Americans, rising coronavirus cases are also hindering traditional pre-feast fitness routines like annual turkey trot races and family gym outings. 

As of Thursday, four states — including Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington — re-issued state-mandated shutdowns requiring gyms to temporarily shutter to halt the spread of the virus. And while gyms in most states remain open for now, officials in regions like New York are enforcing earlier closing times and stricter capacity limits for fitness centers. 

The closures are sparking outcry and exacerbating existing feuds between gym owners and state officials regarding what types of businesses are permitted to remain open and determined essential. 

In conversations with Business Insider, the chief executives of Life Time Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, and Retro Fitness made their case for leaving fitness centers open and explain why they feel closing is a threat to public health. Here’s what they had to say. 

Gym owners push lawmakers for essential status 

Compounding the struggle for gym owners and consumers alike is a lack of conclusive data regarding exposure and infection rates at gyms, leaving many experts and policymakers at odds over the best course of action.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that “indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces” and several reports found fitness centers — including a spin studio in Ontario, Canada and an indoor ice rink in Massachusetts — tied to several coronavirus outbreaks. Further, a recent analysis by Northwestern University found that gyms were among superspreader venues early in the virus, based on cellphone mobility data. 

Still, other studies — including a September report from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association — are reporting contrary findings that show low risk of infection at gyms. While IHRSA reported infection rates as low as .0023% across 2,873 fitness centers, The Washington Post reported that concerns have arisen over the methodology of the survey and conflicts of interest in its development. 

Regardless, gym owners are fighting tooth and nail to keep their facilities open, using any helpful data point to their advantage. 

Among the most vocal opponents of gym closures is Bahram Akradi, the founder and CEO of Life Time Fitness, a Minnesota-based company

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Which Gyms Are Open on Thanksgiving 2020? Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Equinox Opening Hours

Some gyms are open on Thanksgiving, which this year falls on November 26. Here we look at the hours of operation at some major gyms across the country, including Crunch Fitness, Gold’s Gym and more.

Planet Fitness

Most Planet Fitness gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact your local venue to confirm before visiting.

The fitness chain has implemented several safety measures amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including “requiring all members to wear masks while in-club so you can gym safely and confidently.

“Keep a safe distance by putting an imaginary treadmill, or two, between you and others,” the company noted.

Guests can also see how many people are at their local branch before visiting through the Planet Fitness mobile app. “Just open up the app and tap Crowd Meter to view how many members are there,” the company advises.

LA Fitness

Some LA Fitness locations have yet to resume operations amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, while several have reopened. Some LA Fitness gyms have been on a reduced schedule on Thanksgiving in previous years, while some facilities have been closed. Contact your nearest venue to confirm Thanksgiving opening hours before visiting.

Equinox

The hours of operation at Equinox over holidays, such as Thanksgiving, vary by location. Check your local branch to confirm opening and closing times before visiting.

Equinox gyms have also issued new safety guidelines amid the ongoing pandemic.

“Physical distancing of at least 6-to-10 feet, depending on local guidelines, between members and employees is required at all times. Please respect floor markings and any other visual cues that facilitate distancing at the front desk, in our locker rooms, studios, and other club areas.

“Mask requirements vary by local government mandates,” and guests are advised to check their local branch for details before visiting.

Guests are required to make a booking for their gym session before their visit using the Equinox mobile app, while some branches may require a temperature check.

See the Equinox website for more information.

Crunch Fitness

Some branches of Crunch Fitness are operating on reduced hours on Thanksgiving.

Crunch Fitness gyms have introduced several safety measures, including mask requirements for staff “alongside other PPE [personal protective equipment] if required by public health officials.

“We recommend members wear masks within the gym (unless mask wearing is required at all times by public health officials),” the company said.

Social distancing guidelines and enhanced disinfecting equipment have also been implemented, including the “airPHX clean air systems” which “uses atmospheric cold plasma to change a small percentage of the oxygen molecules in the air into a unique spectrum of oxidizing molecules that kill bacteria, viruses, and mold,” the company noted.

See the Crunch Fitness website to see the hours of operation and the specific safety guidelines issued at your nearest branch.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness gyms are usually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including on holidays such as Thanksgiving. Contact your local branch to confirm before visiting.

The fitness

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Are gyms closing in lockdown? What Covid restrictions mean for fitness centres, and when they could open again

A second national lockdown will come into force as of Thursday 5 November to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the latest measures alongside chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty during a press conference at Downing Street on Saturday.

As with the first lockdown, everyone in England will be banned from leaving their home except for a list of specific circumstances including going to school, commuting to work if you cannot work at home, seeking medical care or buying essential supplies.

But will gyms close again? Here’s what the second lockdown means for fitness centres.

Are gyms closing again?

Gyms and fitness centres were one of the last businesses to reopen at the end of July, following the first lockdown in spring.

Sadly, under the latest lockdown rules, they are set to close again.

Gyms were among the last businesses to reopen following the first lockdown in spring (Photo: David Davies/PA)

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, including bowling alleys, swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, as well as dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks will also have to shut their doors.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave.

How long are they going to stay closed for?

Ms Johnson said will last from Thursday 5 November until 2 December.

This means that gyms and all other sports facilities will remain closed for at least four weeks.

Although Cabinet minister Michael Gove on Sunday added that England’s national lockdown could last longer than four weeks, if the R rate is not successfully brought below 1.0 by the end of the proposed lockdown period.

Why are gyms closing?

The closures of gyms are part of the second lockdown measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 cases as fresh data showed the second wave could be deadlier than the first.

Mr Johnson performed the U-turn after Government scientists presented data which showed that without drastic action, the NHS was on track to run out of capacity by the first week of December – even if all elective procedures are cancelled and Nightingale hospitals are reactivated.

Individuals will still be allowed to exercise outdoors, either on their own, with one person from another household or with their support bubble (Photo: Coralie Datta/Historic England/PA)

It is understood the Prime Minister changed his mind on the merits of going back into lockdown when modellers from the Spi-M subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies presented him with figures showing that NHS capacity will be exhausted on 4 December if hospitalisations continue on their current trajectory.

A further 162 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, while there were 23,254 new lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing

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Dentist in lockdown: Are dentists open during lockdown and can I see a dentist?

Dentists were closed for regular appointments during the first coronavirus lockdown. The second national lockdown will come into force from Thursday, October 5, until Wednesday, December 2. Several businesses must close, but are dentists able to remain open during the second lockdown in England?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled plans for a second national lockdown in England.

The new measures will be rolled out across England on Thursday and will last for a month.

The month-long lockdown will see several non-essential businesses forced to close.

Unlike the lockdown in March, schools, universities and colleges are permitted to remain open.

READ MORE: Can I go to the dentist in Tier 2?

More than one million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Britain.

In the UK, there were 21,915 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 1,011,660.

There were also 326 new deaths were confirmed within 28 days of a positive covid test and 761 deaths were confirmed with COVID-19 on the death certificate.

The UK has now become the fourth-highest number of cases in Europe behind Russia, France and Spain and the ninth highest in the world.

Speaking from Downing Street on Saturday, Mr Johnson said: “Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative.

“From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home.

“You may only leave home for specific reasons, including: For education; For work, say if you cannot work from home; For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household; For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm; To shop for food and essentials; And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.”

The Prime Minister added: “We are not going back to the full-scale lockdown of March and April.

“It is less prohibitive and less restrictive. But from Thursday the basic message is the same.

“Stay at home. Protect the NHS. And save lives.”

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One of the reasons people are permitted to leave their home is for “medical reasons, appointments or to escape injury”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to continue to use the NHS for treatment as required in his speech on Saturday.

He said: “So please – this is really important – unless your clinicians tell you otherwise, you should continue to use the NHS, get your scans, turn up for your appointments and pick up your treatments.

“If at all possible, we want you to continue to access these services, now and through the winter.

“Indeed it’s only by taking this action that we can protect the NHS for you.”

What new restrictions are being rolled out in England?

There are several new restrictions in place across England including:

  • A ban to leave your home for any but a
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Exceptional Healthcare to Open New Community Hospitals Across Arizona

Exceptional Community Hospital Celebrates Groundbreaking for Maricopa Facility;
Additional Community Hospitals Already Planned for Yuma, Prescott, Other Communities

A Texas-based hospital group is making a strong entry into the Arizona marketplace, with a critically needed community hospital coming to Maricopa and other hospitals opening across Arizona in the near future.

Exceptional Healthcare is entering Arizona with its first facility in the City of Maricopa, in the Phoenix metro region. The 20,000-square-foot Phase 1 of the facility will be located in the heart of Maricopa on State Route 347, and will be the first facility of its kind in the community.

The state-of-the-art facility includes a specialty internal medicine hospital, a 24-hour emergency department, a digital imaging suite – including CT Scan, X-Ray, mobile MRI and ultrasound – an in-house laboratory, and outpatient and inpatient hospital beds for acute admissions and overnight observation of patients.

Additionally, in partnership with higher-level hospitals in the Phoenix area, Exceptional Healthcare will feature a landing area for air ambulances to ensure the fastest transfer of patients needing a higher level of care.

Exceptional Healthcare is already planning for additional facilities in Prescott and Yuma as well as locations in as many as six other communities throughout the state.

“We are very excited to be entering the Arizona marketplace and particularly the City of Maricopa with our first Exceptional Healthcare hospital in the state,” said Saeed Mahboubi, Chief Financial Officer for Exceptional Healthcare. “Arizona is facing a shortage of healthcare facilities and professionals, particularly in rural areas and smaller communities in the state. These new hospitals will fill a critical need and help strengthen the state’s overall healthcare infrastructure.”

Two socially distanced, invitation-only groundbreaking events will take place on Friday, November 13 at the Maricopa site. Members of the media are invited to attend either the 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. events. Media members who would like to attend should contact Tom Evans at the information above.

Neighborhood community hospitals are important because they offer residents of communities without large healthcare resources an alternative to driving long distances — often at times of medical emergency when seconds count. It also provides patients with the ability to stay closer to home for less significant internal medicine-related admissions, allowing patients to be closer to their families and loved ones.

At the Exceptional Healthcare facilities, each inpatient room will have accommodations for a family member to stay the night, as well as high-level concierge-style service. Plans include chef-prepared individualized meal service as well as complimentary toiletries, bath robe, and slippers for patients to increase their level of comfort.

As Maricopa continues to grow, the need for immediate lifesaving care is critical, and the ability for residents to be admitted to a hospital for basic inpatient care without having to leave Maricopa is a plus. The $18 million facility in Maricopa is expected to employ between 60-100 employees, and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021.

Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, welcomed

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Why Is Europe Keeping Its Schools Open, Despite New Lockdowns?

BERLIN — When Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the latest round of restrictions on public life, she named bars, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, gyms and tattoo parlors as institutions that would be forced to close. But missing from the list released on Wednesday were schools and day care centers — among the first to be shuttered in the spring lockdown.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron also said on Wednesday that schools would be exempt from wide-reaching nationwide restrictions that are to take effect beginning Friday. Ireland also allowed schools to remain open despite a nationwide lockdown that went into effect earlier this month.

Not everyone is happy with the decisions, but policymakers are taking extra precautions to reduce the risk in schools, from mask requirements for teachers and pupils, to regular airing of classrooms, to split use of schoolyards during breaks. They say they are applying hard-learned lessons from months of fighting the pandemic, and are prepared to change directions if things take a turn for the worse.

Micheal Martin, the Irish prime minister, said that while his country could no longer avoid restrictions, despite the detrimental impact on the economy, it was vital that schools remained open.

“We cannot and will not allow our children and young people’s futures to be another victim of this disease,” Mr. Martin said in a national address. “They need their education.”

Around the world, there is mounting concern that the pandemic is doing lasting harm to the academic and emotional development of an entire generation of children.

Earlier this month, the German conference of ministers of culture, who are responsible for coordinating education policy, stressed children’s right to an education, which they said is best served among peers, in classrooms. “This must take highest priority in making all decisions about restrictive measures that need to be taken,” the minister said.

In making her announcement, Ms. Merkel cited another reason that maintaining access to schools was important, pointing to the “dramatic social consequences” that closing schools and day care centers had on families during the lockdown in March and April.

“To name it clearly: Violent assaults against women and children increased dramatically,” Ms. Merkel said, justifying her government’s decision to halt sports, cultural events and close restaurants instead. “It is important to bear in mind the social consequences if we have to intervene in these issues.”

Keeping children at home often made it hard for parents — especially mothers — to devote their divided attention to work.

Medical experts point to many things they now know that were unknown back in the spring: with proper precautions, the rate of coronavirus transmission in schools is relatively low, especially among the youngest students; children who do get infected tend to have mild symptoms; and measures like mask-wearing, social distancing and air circulation are more effective than they had predicted.

But that does not mean open schools are risk-free. While schools are not known to have been a major

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Best swimming tracker 2020: waterproof fitness trackers for swimming in the pool and open water

Taking to the water this summer and wondering how to find the best fitness tracker for swimming? You’re going to need a device that is more than just waterproof. Whether it’s for open water or in a pool, a wearable with proper swimming tracking will be able to feedback to you vital swim stats – automatically detecting the type of stroke, stroke rate (the number of strokes you swim per length), and split times, for instance.

According to David Tatler, Head Coach at London swim coaching firm DMT Swimming, having this sort of data available while in the water can not only aid swimmers track how many lengths they’re doing or calories they’ve burnt, but can help even more seasoned swimmers push beyond their limits.

“Seeing where you are slowing down, for instance, will force you to look at every aspect of your stroke and see where improvements are needed in your technique,” he explains.

How to choose the best swimming fitness tracker for you

If you’re a keen athlete or triathlete serious about swimming, purchasing a good quality fitness wearable boasting some good tracking features is a no brainer. A constant supply of stats will help you keep a watchful eye on how well you’re performing day-to-day, where your strengths and weaknesses are, and how to improve your stroke.

Alternatively, if you’re not exactly a pro, you’re just starting out or you prefer to swim occasionally and aren’t so interested in closely monitoring detailed swim stats, you might want to go for more of an all-rounder. A multi-sport tracker would therefore be ideal as it will allow you to keep tabs on all kinds of fitness while not feeding back stats that aren’t so relevant to you. Most smartwatches and activity trackers do this anyway, but not all.

There’s also two main types of tracker to look out for, a full-sized smartwatch or a more slimline fitness band. This is all to do with preference and how comfortable you feel wearing a larger, heavier watch while in the water. Bands are usually lighter and smaller so less noticeable on the arm during your lengths, but these tend to have fewer sensors and therefore are lacking when it comes to detailed stats. On the upside, though, they are usually cheaper, so perhaps best for those more casual swimmers among us.

Garmin Swim 2

(Image credit: Garmin)

1. Garmin Swim 2: best overall fitness tracker for swimming

Blows all other trackers out of the water

Specifications

Display Size: 1.04″

Estimated Battery Life: 7 days

GPS: Yes

Water resistance: 50m

Reasons to buy

+Easy to use+Super detailed summary stats+GPS for open water swimming

Reasons to avoid

Lacks multisport features

Garmin is probably the market leader when it comes to smartwatches and is popular with more serious fitness fanatics and athletes thanks to its in-depth multisport tracking features, robust designs and reliability. The Swim 2 is no exception. With a built in heart rate monitor so that you can see

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Parents in so-called ‘mom code’ allegedly refuse to get kids tested for COVID-19 to help keep schools open

The so-called “mom code” is allegedly being shared by some parents in Utah.

Health officials are sounding the alarm about a group of parents in Utah who are allegedly pledging to not have their children tested for COVID-19 in order to make infection numbers artificially appear lower.

The alleged push to avoid getting kids tested, dubbed the “mom code,” is seen in messages shared on Facebook urging parents to keep their child at home if they show COVID-19 symptoms, but to not get tested.

The messages are reportedly being shared among parents in Utah’s Davis School District, which oversees more than 73,000 students in Davis County, Utah.

“If there is a quarantine with a sports team or with any of the classrooms, they are encouraging each other not to have their children tested,” said Genevra Prothero, a parent in the school district, who fears community spread if the “mom code” is encouraged. “This is a time where we need to really focus on tracing the virus so we can be able to stop the spread.”

State health officials say it’s unknown how many parents are actually taking part in the alleged “mom code,” but warn that those who do could be contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

PHOTO: Facebook screenshots allegedly show parents discouraging testing for COVID-19.

Facebook screenshots allegedly show parents discouraging testing for COVID-19.

“Testing is a critical element of our response,” health officials told “Good Morning America” in a statement, in part. “Identifying cases …is a key strategy to limiting the spread of disease in our communities.”

Davis County currently has more than 8,000 reported cases of COVID-19. The state of Utah has more than 104,000 cases of COVID-19, according to state health data.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 8.6 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and at least 225,230 deaths.

Emilie Daly, a mother of four young children, is running for the school board in Davis County. She told “GMA” that while she is not participating in the reported “mom code,” she can understand why some parents would.

“It’s not mandated to get tested, that’s the thing,” she said. “And so we need to remember that it is a choice and you need to make decisions based off of what you feel.”

The Davis School District did not reply to ABC News’ request for comment. ABC News also reached out to some of the parents allegedly involved in the so-called “mom code” and they also did not reply.

Students in the district are currently attending school on a varied, hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, according to the school district’s website.

The school district’s Board of Education last week released its quarantine protocols for students and staff, noting that in the case of a school outbreak, the classroom or school would enter a “14-day quarantine with students moving to remote learning.”

“The longer

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