'A community win,' how a Chatham gym remains open during the lockdown
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Performance 360 Fitness has reopened but only for a small group of members, with special privileges.
One of them is Charlie McIntosh, 84, who survived triple bypass surgery four years ago.
“I told the doctor I come here three to four times a week, just to keep the sugar down, to keep the motor running,” he says.
McIntosh’s doctor wrote him a note, requiring physical fitness to allow him to go to Performance 360.
“I go over there and I lift some weights. I’m not as strong as I used to be,” he chuckles. “Might be an age factor.”
Delaney Hart, 20, didn’t mind going and asking for a doctor’s note, once, so she could back to the gym as often as she wants.
“It really affects my mental health when my physical health goes too, like especially my self-esteem,” she says. “So to not be able to come in here and run and lift weights and be around like-minded people was really hard for me.”
Gyms and fitness centers were forced to close under the current stay-at-home order and lockdown, set to possibly expire on June 2.
When that was announced, owner, Jenn Daoust did some research and found a special exception under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
It reads “...facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities may open to enable individuals of all ages with a disability to access public or private indoors and/or outdoors facilities for physical therapy.”
“We were really excited to learn that this was an area that the government was allowing,” says Daoust. “It was more of an excitement of a community win.”
Daoust says even though just a third of customer base is eligible to keep going to the gym, she says it’s worthwhile to keep open for them.
Many of her current clients include the elderly and first responders.
And Daoust says they met with bylaw enforcement officers from Chatham-Kent Public Health.
“We made sure we were completely compliant,” she says. “We had to put together a safety plan, to present it to make sure that what we were doing was effective.”
Daoust says she has hired back some staff members to help with the enhanced cleaning protocols required, but says she can’t bring back all 14 staff members until the restrictions on gyms are eased or removed completely.
“People need a preventative measure to support their immune health,” she says. “At the end of the day, closing our doors is not the answer.”