COVID-19 in B.C.: Group fitness classes and sports cancelled across Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley

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      New provincial health orders have resulted in group physical activities coming to a halt across the Lower Mainland, including the Fraser Valley.

      On November 7 B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued new provincial health orders to address the rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers in B.C. over the past few weeks.

      The orders, which apply to the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions (Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley), came into effect on November 7 and will continue until November 23.

      Several areas were addressed, including group physical activities, including classes and sports.

      Henry had said that rapid transmission has been in these settings, and she ordered all spin, yoga, group fitness, and dance classes, and other group indoor physical activities to immediately stop.

      On November 5, she had called indoor spin classes “dangerous” and that no one should be participating in these activities at the moment.

      In addition, she recommended physical activity facilities to implement preventative measures such as having attendance only by cohorts of people, placing physical barriers between stationary bicycles, proper ventilation, or relocating to outside locations.

      These activities will be permitted to resume once safety plans have been approved by health officers.

      From gyms, like the recently relaunched Fitness World chain, to yoga studios like Yyoga have all suspended their classes within the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.

      Some companies that have cancelled their in-person classes have turned to live or on-demand class online offerings, such as Spin Society Cycling Studio.

      Meanwhile, amateur sports are also affected. For instance, the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association cancelled its games on November 7 until further notice.

      While community centres will remain open, the Vancouver Park Board announced on November 8 that it has suspended group fitness programs, including strength and sculpting, zumba, rhythmic gymnastics, total body conditioning, yoga, dance, dance aerobics, ballet, hip hop, martial arts, aquafit, and more.

      Also, park board sports programs that will be suspended include hockey, volleyball, basketball, water polo, ringette, indoor soccer, badminton, pickle ball, table tennis, games rooms, and more.

      Indoor physical activities in which physical distancing can be maintained will continue at Vancouver Park Board facilities, including one-on-one personal training in fitness centres, public swimming, and skating.

      Indoor sports competition or games will be replaced with physically distanced, individual exercise, practice, and drills.

      Also, spectators aren’t permitted, including at outdoor sports activities held by permit holders at Vancouver Park Board sites. 

      Henry had said that individual physical activities can continue during this tine period.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.