Allow Boutique Fitness Studios to Open Phase Two in Ontario
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Dear Premier Ford,
As we move into the second phase or re-opening services in Ontario, we as a collaborative as asking for your support in allowing boutique fitness studios to be included in this plan.
Boutique fitness studios play a substantial role in the well being of our communities. Science shows that exercise and community help to combat a variety of things including depression and anxiety, lowers the risk of obesity, and increases cardiovascular health. New studies are emerging daily that link Coronavirus to all of the above, which makes it more important than ever to provide our communities with options to remain healthy + active.
Healthcare and mental healthcare have remained on the list of essential services during this pandemic, and we believe that we should be considered a priority and an essential service for our community. Personally, we have experienced significant periods of depressive episodes and anxiety, both of which are things that we do not struggle with, so we couldn't imagine the pain that others are struggling through. We know for ourselves and many others within our greater community that exercise and community is the only thing that has been able to get them through. There are many individuals within our community messaging us daily for ongoing support and guidance.
We have heard from many people that exercise is a luxury and just workout at home, but the reality is that many people don't have the support, resources, motivation or guidance to effectively partake in exercise.
Ourselves, along with thousands of other studios across Ontario, are live-streaming daily workouts for our members, but it's not enough. The community experience, the motivation and the support that is offered in studio cannot be found at home.
On Thursday, you announced a plan that would allow retail stores at a street side to open as long as they adhere to the measures put into place. Those measures included making sure that each individual has a 4 square metre space (or 43 square feet) to ensure that physical distancing could take place. This would mean that in a 1600 square foot studio, we would be allowed to have upwards of 40 people. Given that is beyond most studios capacity, we have instead put a system in place that would allow us to operate and provide for our community while being a lot less of a risk than a retail store.
As a Boutique Fitness Community, we have come up with a variety of measures that adhere to the Ontario Public Health guidelines for when the time comes to open.
- No new members will be allowed into studio under following Phase 3. This will allow us to safely screen our members and ensure they are well and have not been travelling
- Boutique studios have the ability to only be open during certain hours, most of the time only for a certain number of classes per day
- Members will be required to sign up for classes and will be notified at that time the measures that are being taken
- Members will not be sharing equipment and must clean down their station before moving to the next
- Strict occupancy numbers will be put into place (with direction from public health) and taped boxes on the floors can be made for members to ensure they are properly distancing
- Masks and gloves can be provided to trainers to wear, or members to wear only before and after workouts (a mask cannot be worn safely during high intensity interval training classes)
- Members will be asked to arrive right before class and leave promptly after the class is finished to limit the time in a close proximity
- Classes will be spaced out a minimum of 15 minutes to limit the number of people in the studio space at one time
- All members will be required to change their shoes upon entry into the studio
- All members will be provided with hand sanitizer (70% alcohol based) prior to touching or entering the studio, midway through class and at the end of each session
- Hand sanitizing stations will be placed at the entrances of all studios, on the gym floors as well as near washrooms
- All stations and equipment will be wiped down with a solution at the sole discretion of each studio owner (either bleach solution, alcohol, lysol or Benefect) to ensure all equipment is cleaned and sanitized
- We have purchased and will be using a Fogger in the studio daily to ensure the air is cleaned and the surfaces are appropriately sanitized using Benefect solution
Why we should be allowed to open:
- We can control who comes into our studios and when
- We have the ability to limit how many people are in the studio at one given time (our aim for reopening would be 10 people and work up from there as we are given the green light)
- Our community atmosphere is sometimes the only family that an individual has. Not only have many of our community members been quarantined from family, but they've been quarantined from the only friends that they know
- We are a stress relief and for many the only thing that helps to improves one's mental health, which at this time is something that MANY are struggling with
- Quick contact tracing should someone contract COVID-19 within our studios because of our limited number of members
As a Boutique Fitness Community, we humbly ask that we not be grouped together with large, commercialized gyms. The majority of our studios are small, family run, local businesses that are focused on providing services that can help our community live long and healthy lives. We are in no way wanting to jeopardize their health but know how important their fitness routine is to them AND their mental health.
We appreciate you taking the time to review our proposal and we gratefully hope that you will consider moving Boutique Gyms to Phase Two of opening.
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