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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Texas governor requests use of El Paso-area military hospital for non-COVID-19 patients as cases surge

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday requested to use a medical center at Fort Bliss for non-COVID-19 patients as coronavirus cases surge in the El Paso area. The request comes as COVID-19 cases have been increasing throughout Texas and the country.

Abbott said Saturday that he had spoken to Dr. Robert Kadiec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to request use of William Beaumont Army Medical Center to free up beds at the region’s hospitals, according to CBS El Paso affiliate KDBC.

El Paso officials said 1,216 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, for a total of 10,911 active cases and 38,554 cumulative cases.

El Paso officials said Saturday one person died, a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions. There have been 572 deaths in El Paso due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. 

As of Saturday, there were 715 people hospitalized in El Paso County due to COVID-19, including 199 in intensive care and 85 on ventilators.

US-TEXAS-HEALTH-VIRUS-ECONOMY
Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on October 23, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. 

Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images


Abbott announced earlier this week that he would be sending more than 450 medical personnel to the El Paso area. He also said he will be sending extra equipment including ambulances, patient monitors, patient beds and oxygen concentrators.

“The medical personnel and supplies we are deploying to El Paso build upon the resources the state previously sent to the community and will provide much needed support to area hospitals and first responders,” Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”  

A report by UT-Austin released Thursday said “the El Paso region has the most threatening projections, with an estimated 85% probability that COVID-19 cases will exceed local hospital capacity by November 8th, 2020.”

According to the same report, five other regions have a more than 25% chance of hospitals being overwhelmed with in 3 weeks: Amarillo (28%), Lubbock (29%), Wichita Falls (30%), San Angelo (29%) and Galveston (33%).

The Texas Department of Public Health reported Saturday more than 89,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the state, including more than 6,000 new cases. 

Coronavirus cases nationwide have been rising, with more cases reported on Friday than any other single day since the pandemic began. 

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