Williams Lake fitness centres and gyms are adapting on the fly to last week’s provincial health order barring indoor spin classes, hot yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) temporarily.
Provincial health measures also now require the use of masks in public indoor and retail spaces, following months of calls for such a mandate.
At the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, the city’s director of community services, Ian James, said because the CMRC already had a mandatory mask policy in place, their classes, programs and day-to-day operations at the fitness centre and pool have been largely unaffected outside of one, HIIT program.
“It makes sense,” James said of the order. “You’re working as hard as you can with exhaustion within a group setting.”
He said patrons are still able to freely make use of the treadmills, do their own individual training and take part in both fitness and swimming classes under the current guidelines set out by the province. James added all of the city’s COVID-19 safety guidelines are current and up-to-date.
“We have to be flexible,” James said. “We can’t be rigid. This temporary order has an expiry date, and we have to wait and see for further direction.”
On Tuesday, the B.C. government announced all indoor group fitness studios in the province must shut down until updated guidance can be worked out.
Studios affected by the new restrictions include gymnastics, dance studios, martial arts, yoga, pilates, strength and conditioning and cheerleading. Regular gyms and individual training may stay open.
At Re4rm Fitness in Williams Lake, meanwhile, owner and trainer Kim Colgate opted to cancel all classes for the time being in light last week’s announcements.
Tuesday’s government update solidified her decision as all group classes would have been forced to be cancelled.
Colgate said she will reassess in the near future and keep her clients posted but has, for now, frozen all memberships.
“We’re a smaller, studio gym so it impacts us, and we do have TRX and spin classes, but to be safe we’re cancelling everything for now,” Colgate said.
She said she and her staff have gone above and beyond to keep clients safe throughout the pandemic, even after being forced to close for three months beginning in March, however, the latest regulations would force her to trim class sizes even further.
“I can’t trim classes again,” she said. “We had a wait list already and cutting class size again would add to that wait list. I don’t think that would be fair to my clients.”
Colgate, who is coming up on her second anniversary of opening the business in February, said she will still be open for personal training and, when they are once again allowed to offer spin classes they will do so under whatever protocols are in place.
“We have a great client base. Most have been with me since we opened,” she said.
“I’m disheartened and sad about it. My biggest thing is my clients.”
At Concrete Fitness, manager Jayden Nohr immediately shut down all classes last Thursday as a precaution once the order dropped.
“We’re going to have to cancel all of our group classes,” Nohr said. “We’ll wait it out and see what clarification comes of it.”
Following its daily shut down for cleaning on Friday, Nov. 20, Nohr said things were back to normal until Tuesday.
“We’re asking all our members to wear a mask everywhere except when you’re on your machine,” he said.
“We’re just adapting, like everyone else. We’re just asking our members to respect the mask order as best they can.”
Concrete Fitness’s squash court is also open for play, he added.
– With files from Katya Slepian/Black Press Media