Quebec gym owners feeling pumped as re-opening date approaches
MONTREAL -- It's been a while since Quebec's gym owners had a reason to jumping jack for joy, but with a reopening date quickly approaching, some are saying they're feeling pumped.
“We were ecstatic,” said Orange Theory co-owner Melanie Shernofsky. “(There were) lots of people just feeling depressed about not working out, feeling depressed about gaining weight.”
The province's gyms have been forced closed by pandemic public health measures since October, but last week, the provincial government said they would have permission to re-open as of March 26. In total, gyms have been closed for nine of the past 12 months, and many that have survived have done so only because of government loans.
“Keep in mind, the word is loan. It's not free money, so all this money has to be paid back. We've done everything we can to get through it,” said Shernofsky.
Some details of the reopening plan have yet to be released, such as how many people will be permitted back inside gyms at once. On Friday, Quebec public health spokesperson Richard Masse said the government is “very confident, as the gym owners have said things are going to go correctly and people will respect all the measures that have been asked.”
Shernofsky said she's not in a position to be picky.
“We'll take what we can get. If we can take one person in our studio, we'll take one person in our studio.”
At Griffintown gym F45 Training, owner Corey Faubert described a new model of operations designed to be pandemic-safe.
“(We have) designated socially distanced boxes with your own equipment. You don't move around the room and we do sanitizing and disinfecting regularly,” he said.
Along with gyms, spas have also been given permission to resume more operations. Until March 26, many have been restricted to only offering massages.
At Bota Bota, staff was drastically cut and money that had been set aside for an expansion went to staying afloat through the pandemic. Owner Genevieve Emond said she hopes clients will feel safe enough to return.
“You're outside, you're two metres distanced, the water itself cannot be contaminated because there's chlorine in it, so it's very safe,” she said.