Toronto gyms upset dance studios allowed to open but yoga still banned


Toronto dancers rejoice today after the Ontario provincial government overturned a sweeping shutdown order for studios in the changed Stage 2 hot spots.From ballet to station wagon, bollywood and bachataca, the province confirmed on Tuesday that “all courses given for the purpose of teaching or training amateur or professional dancers in dance techniques are allowed to operate provided that the specified conditions are fulfilled ”.

Well, almost all classes: Government officials were careful to note in a Tuesday statement that fitness-focused dance classes, like Zumba, are still banned.

“This rule change recognizes that dance styles such as ballet, hip-hop and the ballroom can still be safely taught and performed when certain public health measures are followed,” the statement read. announcement detailing Ontario’s amended emergency orders for Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York.

“Dance classes that do not meet the specified criteria (eg a Zumba class) would not be allowed. ”

We get it, Ontario: Gyms can’t reopen yet. But if ballerinas can hit the bar, why can’t yogis hit the mat? This is a valid question and one to which the owners of some local gyms are demanding an answer from the government.

“Let me clarify things. You can attend a class at a dance studio in Ontario’s COVID hotspots where intensive aerobic exercise is considered a team sport activity, but you cannot take your place on a mat to enjoy ‘a relaxing yoga class,’ wrote David Ingram, founder of Toronto fitness studio Sweat and Tonic, in a fiery Linkedin post Thursday night.

“Boutique-class studios offer the same services as dance studios and can operate with the same restrictions. All members pre-register for classes, maintain a physical distance of at least 2M and are limited to 10 participants per class, ”he continued.

“To date, we have welcomed over 15,000 guests without a single reported COVID case.”

Delighted that many people are celebrating dance studios joining other sports facilities to reopen for training purposes, Ingram is not bothered by the government’s move.

Owners, employees, and members of small gyms and personal training centers are particularly outraged that dance studios can reopen (but with a maximum capacity of 10 people), but not their seats.

“How come private gyms with personal trainers can’t open? We are all capable of wearing masks and being socially estranged the same way dance students do ”, wrote a resident of Ontario in reaction to the news.

“It also doesn’t make sense that there are functioning hookah lounges with people inside and masks without social distancing. ”

“You tell me that dance studios, where you would sweat and breathe profusely, in Ontario are allowed to reopen, but the protocol-friendly, perfectly sanitized and socially remote gyms are not?” ” wrote another. “Make it meaningful. ”

Some accuse government officials of making ill-informed decisions willy-nilly or, worse, of reaching out to special interest groups by opening dance studios and not gyms.

The distinction between dance and yoga studios is justified, however, according to Tourism, Culture and Sports Minister Lisa MacLeod, it has to do with what is considered a sport and what is not. not.

“Dance studios should be treated like other sports,” she told CTV on Sunday. “When they train for the fundamentals they should have the same setup, but they were grouped together, I think unfairly, in the fitness clubs so we had to work on that. “

As valid as the government’s reasons are for treating something like ballet (a highly sporting professional art form) and yoga (an uncompetitive, often spiritual practice), small business owners are hurting.

Those who can afford to keep customers safe through improved disinfection protocols and physical distancing measures – and have already shown they can indeed do so – are asking for a chance.

“The government makes arbitrary decisions that are not based on evidence or scientific data,” says Ingram. “They choose winners and losers based on public pressure, which puts thousands of businesses and their employees at risk of losing their livelihood. ”

“Continued closures will lead to more cases of depression, a higher suicide rate and a weaker immune system. Let’s hold the government accountable for transparency and data to make these decisions, ”says the owner of the store.

“The industry is not looking for special treatment, just equal treatment. “


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