April 12, 2021

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‘If you operate a gym, you can be open:’ Shandro

Gyms across the province will be allowed to open for low-intensity activities this week, says...

Gyms across the province will be allowed to open for low-intensity activities this week, says the provincial health minister. 

On Tuesday, Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro clarified the  rules around what fitness activities are allowed to take place under the  second step of the provincial reopening plan. 

“There has been considerable confusion around what is allowed and what is not allowed,” Shandro said. 

“If you operate a gym, you can be open. That is perfectly within the rules.”

The province will be allowing low-intensity workouts – where  breathing isn’t heavy and heart rate isn’t high – under the new  guidelines, while high intensity workouts – where breathing is heavy and  heart rate is high – will still be prohibited. The model was put  forward after consulting with the fitness industry across the province  and the province has modelled its plan after the one in British  Columbia.

Shandro said fitness centres will be asked to use their best judgment  when approaching the new rules and the minister will be holding a  town hall for the industry to learn more about the rules. 

The minister said the province will use enforcement for facilities  who are not following the rules as a last resort and will be using  education first to ensure fitness facilities understand the rules the  province has put out. 

“The goal is compliance, it’s not sanctions,” Shandro said.

Video: Alberta gyms to decide what is, and isn’t, an intense workout (cbc.ca)

Alberta gyms to decide what is, and isn’t, an intense workout

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“We want people to use gym and other facilities safely.”

Fitness facilities will not have a capacity cap on their buildings,  but every visitor must stay three metres apart at all times to allow the  best use of the space inside the facility, said Alberta Chief Medical  Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. 

“I recognize the important role that physical activity and fitness  play in our overall physical and mental health,” Hinshaw said. 

On Monday, the province announced it would be moving cautiously into  Step 2 of the reopening plan, which included opening libraries at 15 per  cent capacity and allowing for low-intensity fitness to take place  indoors. 

Unsupervised low-intensity individual and group exercises are now  allowed by appointment only. Mandatory physical distance of three metres  is required between participants, including coaches and trainers, at  all times, and masks must be worn at all times by trainers and those  participating in low-intensity activities.

All indoor fitness must be pre-registered – no drop-ins allowed.

Low-intensity exercises include weightlifting, low-intensity dance  classes, yoga, barre and indoor climbing, as well as the low-intensity  use of treadmills, ellipticals and related equipment.

High-intensity activities, including running, spin and high-intensity  interval training, continue to be allowed only on a one-on-one with a  trainer basis, or training with a household and one trainer.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette