Gyms across BC can reopen their doors this week with increased safety protocols and capacity limits.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the health order closing gyms and fitness centres and studios will be lifted this Thursday, Jan. 20.
A minimum of 2.5 by 2.5 metres is required between each person, with masks a must at all times, except when exercising, according to Henry.
Pre-bookings for individual drop-in fitness are also encouraged, and proof of vaccination is still required for entry.
“The spacing requirements apply to people working out on their own, whether it’s doing weights or on the treadmill, and also group fitness classes,” Henry said during a Tuesday press conference.
The order closing gyms, which came into effect on Dec. 22, 2021, was expected to expire at 12:01 am today, Jan. 18.
At the time, just days before Christmas, health officials said the new restrictions were needed to protect hospitals from a potential surge in Omicron cases.
And while gyms can soon reopen, Henry announced today that the restrictions on events and gatherings will continue until mid-February, along with bars and nightclubs staying closed and sports tournaments suspended.
“Given the current rates of transmission … and the number of people currently requiring care in hospital, which is at the highest level for COVID cases that we have had, I will be extending the current restrictions on events and gatherings through to Feb. 16.”
Henry says officials will then reassess the need, once again, to keep any or all of these measures in place.
“As we know, we put these orders in place in December, when we saw the wave of Omicron coming at us. And we still did not know a lot of the pieces of the puzzle about what this was going to look like,” Henry added.
“We’ve had to adjust, and we had to adjust in December once again as the virus changed. It changed, and we needed to change with it.”