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Operation Green Light – BC Gyms and fitness centers open Thursday – Latest Cannabis News Today

Gyms and fitness centers will reopen tomorrow in British Columbia and the community couldn’t be happier. BC Public Health Officer Bonnie Henry announced the changes to last month’s restrictions at yesterday’s press conference. While many residents were waiting for news, some businesses had already opened their doors. To some this may have seemed like an act of rebellion, but the reasons for this movement are worth considering; it turns out that public health officials have decided to accept. Here are the details surrounding this situation.

December term

On December 22, 2021, public health officials announced changes to BC’s COVID 19 mandate. All gyms, fitness centers and indoor physical activities have been ordered to close to protect the public from the omicron variant. For many, this made no sense as retail stores and restaurants were allowed to stay open. Across British Columbia, a general murmur wondered why exercise wasn’t safe, but Christmas shopping was.

The impact

Since the start of the pandemic, personal health has become a daily concern for society in general. If we as a society took fitness for granted before the pandemic, we certainly don’t anymore. Undoubtedly, there is an essential link between exercise, health and the maintenance of well-being. If gyms and fitness centers are not accessible to the public, there are people who will suffer; For those who use exercise to manage chronic pain, injury rehabilitation, mental health issues, PTSD, or other health issues, this is especially true. The potential for harm to the individual is justifiable only when absolutely necessary.

At Vancouver Isle, 24/7 Fitness in Chemainus BC was devastated to hear the news. For members and staff, this gym is more than a small business, it’s a place where you can find your fitness community. Although adamant that he was not speaking on behalf of the company, one staff member, Charles Borg, was kind enough to tell us about his personal experience. “People have their training for their health and their sanity. Yeah, they come to the gym but it’s not about looking in the mirror. The vast majority of members come for physical and mental health, obesity support, addiction support, and to boost their self-esteem. It’s about more than looks. Then we have to tell these members that even though they are doing so well, they have to put their lives on hold.

Athletes only

On January 10, 2022, the rules quietly changed. Gyms and fitness centers have been told they can reopen, but only for one-on-one, personal training and certified athletes. For many businesses, this has provided little benefit and much frustration. While it was nice to be able to open their doors to some, they couldn’t open them to everyone. Additionally, no information was provided to help explain these changes. When it came to providing customers with the reasoning, the owners and staff were left to their own devices. Having had to refuse all but a privileged few, these companies have been placed in a very difficult position. Owners and staff were being forced to turn down desperately needed income; without being able to justify the reason, valuable business relationships have had an impact.

The petition

It started with a petition demanding information; specifically, data surrounding covid transmission in fitness settings. According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, the coronavirus spreads “rapidly” inside indoor exercise facilities. “What we’re seeing is that it goes by so quickly in these indoor environments, even when we have plenty of space and we’ve done everything right.” However, she did not provide any evidence to back up the statement. For many this was simply not enough and this became evident over the holiday season. Frustrated by the government’s lack of transparency, the petition quickly garnered more than 50,000 signatures.

Operation green light

Yesterday, nearly a hundred gyms and fitness centers collectively defied the public health order and opened to the public. This collective action was organized via social media and quickly became known as “Operation Green Light”. In what appears to be a final act of civil disobedience, they refused to wait for provincial approval and asked for forgiveness rather than permission. Fortunately, at 1:30 p.m. that day. the province changed the mandate to include a slow reopening of gyms and fitness centers.

For some fitness enthusiasts, the news of the reopening is a welcome relief but for others it means the difference between life and death. “Diabetes was already killing me, Anytime Fitness Chemainus was there to help me fight it when I couldn’t on my own.” –Joel, Anytime Fitness Chemainus Member

To view or sign the petition for data related to covid transmission in fitness centers, click here.


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