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Two Kamloops gyms fined for staying open in defiance of provincial health order

No Limits Fitness in North Kamloops and Anytime Fitness in Aberdeen were handed fines of $2,300 on Jan. 5 when visited by Interior Health staff and Mounties
No Limits Fitness
No Limits Fitness in North Kamloops is one of a number of gyms to remain open as of Dec. 23, 2021, despite a provincial public health order mandating they close until at least Jan. 18, 2022.

Two Kamloops gyms received fines on Thursday, Jan. 6, after remaining open in defiance of a provincial pandemic-related public health order that mandates all gyms and fitness centres close until at least Jan. 18.

No Limits Fitness, at 905 Eighth St. in North Kamloops, and Anytime Fitness, at the Cityview shopping centre in Aberdeen, at Hillside Way and Rogers Way, each received $2,300 violation tickets under the Covid Related Measure Act.

Kamloops RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn said the detachment received a request on Wednesday to assist Interior Health enforcement officers with two local businesses allegedly in breach of a public health order.

Interior Health said in a statement that all fitness facilities are expected to comply with the public health order to reduce impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on communities.

Since the order was issued in December, Interior Health said it has followed up with 15 facilities in the region, issuing five warning letters. Some gyms in Kamloops planned to stay open, arguing the mental-health well-being of their clientele was at stake and noting no outbreaks had occurred within their facilities.

No Limits Fitness co-owner Justin Grover confirmed the gym was fined. However, he said the facility will remain open.

“Because our stance is about people before profits and I don’t care about the money,” he said. “The money is irrelevant to me. This is about people’s mental health, emotional wellness, physical well-being. That’s what this is about and if it costs me some money to stand up for the gym-goers and the people that rely on our place, it costs me some money. That’s the cost of doing business.”

Grover said he has asked the Ministry of Health for statistics upon which provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix based their decision to close gyms in B.C. during the latest COVID-19 wave, the fifth to occur since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

Grover said he has not been provided with that information. Kamloops This Week has also requested it and is awaiting a response from the ministry.

During COVID-19 briefings, Henry has said spread of the virus has occurred in fitness facilities. Early in the pandemic, a spin studio in the Lower Mainland was cited as a location for transmission in that area.

Fitness studios have been forced to adapt and close at various points in the pandemic. Grover, however, said outbreaks are not happening in gyms and he wants to see the statistics.

“And, if you’re closing down an entire industry over three or four cases, then, you know, maybe the premier needs to step in and have some conversations with his people,” Grover said.

In addition, Grover has requested the minutes of meetings by public officials in discussing the decision to close gyms. He said he has not yet been provided with those documents. He said he has also requested to speak with Henry and Dix, to no avail.

“Why haven’t they reached out to me and said, ‘You know what, let’s talk about the why and hows and what can we do as a governing body to support your business?’ instead of flat out shut it down,” he said.

Interior Health said further steps will be taken in response to gyms that remain open. It said enforcement is progressive, beginning with education and escalating to closure and ticketing when necessary.

Grover said if proof that his facility has been problematic is provided to him, he will close. For now, he said, members of his and other gyms, along with owners of other facilities, across the country have sent their support.

He said members have said they would support No Limits through a fundraising campaign, should it continue to receive fines.

KTW contacted Anytime Fitness and is awaiting return call.

The next provincial COVID-19 briefing will occur on Friday at 11:30 a.m.