All indoor group fitness studios in the province must shut down until updated guidance can be worked out, according to updated orders issued by the B.C. government Tuesday (Nov. 24).
On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had instructed spin, HIIT and hot yoga studios to close indefinitely because they could not operate safely during heightened COVID-19 transmission in recent weeks.
In an updated set of rules posted to the B.C. government website Tuesday, the province noted that “venues that organize or operate other types of indoor group physical activities must suspend them temporarily while new guidance is being developed.”
In Thursday’s update, the government had said that while new guidance would be developed for other indoor fitness studios, “these activities can stay open while updated guidance is being developed.”
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.
In a statement provided to Black Press Media by the health ministry, the ministry said that the updated orders are to “reduce the rapid transmission we are seeing in indoor settings,” which includes indoor group fitness facilities.
“We know these orders are challenging and need time to take hold to ensure we do not see events like we did earlier this month when 38 individuals from a single dance academy tested positive for COVID-19, with 13 school exposures linked to the same academy,” the ministry stated.
“While spin classes, hot yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are suspended indefinitely, all other indoor group fitness activities are only on pause until public health develops new guidance to ensure safe operation. Once this guidance is completed, facilities offering indoor group fitness activities, other than spin, hot yoga or HIIT, will need to adhere to that guidance, update their safety plans, and post them publicly before these activities can resume. That guidance is being finalized right now and we expect it to be available this week.”
B.C. broke daily case and death toll records last week, and cases have remained high in recent days with nearly 2,000 infections over the weekend. Health officials are expected to provide their daily update later on Tuesday afternoon.
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