Staff of gyms and fitness centres aren’t happy that they didn’t get to return to work when other personal services did as they struggle to cope with navigating working from home.
It has been two weeks since the Government of Alberta made the decision to lift restrictions on personal services and allow the re-opening of nail salons, hair salons and tattoo parlours with strict COVID safety measures.
The announcement for the re-opening of personal services, but not including gyms, fitness centres and recreations centres in that list, has been a great disappointment for many and especially those employees.
Vicky Iasenzaniro is a newly qualified ACE certified personal trainer at Beacon Heights HER GYMVMT. She was certified in March, 2020 and was only able to work for two weeks before gyms closed down when the first wave hit.
“I’m not saying it can’t be done without the gym. I am still working with people, virtually, and training them over video and also doing remote programming where I provide programming to people to do on their own workouts, but the hard part about that is a lot of people don’t have a lot of equipment at home,” Iasenzaniro said.
A single 25 pound dumbbell from Walmart can set a person back $50, hence the reason to join a gym.
Kristine Towes has been a dance instructor at Alive Danceworks in southwest Calgary for 11 years, where she teaches dance to both competitive dancers as well as recreational dancers. This has been the first time in her career that she has ever had to give dance lessons over a Zoom call.
“Financially, as far as like hours, things have been cut back from where they used to be last year. My social circle and my ability to interact with others is non-existent anymore and that’s a really hard part… that social aspect of being able to see the kids and seeing the families and connecting with my co-workers,” said Towes.
Towes says it has not been easy moving from the studio to Zoom calls but she has been able to work. However, she has been set back financially because of this. Due to the restriction, she lost a lot of recreational clients and mostly only teaches competitive students now.
Both Towes and Iasenzaniro are frustrated that they cannot return to work as their line of work has still not been deemed safe.
Towes said that there were no outbreaks at their studio throughout the summer and fall seasons leading to the lockdowns in December.
I don’t even think we had any kids who had COVID at our studio but we definitely had lots that had to be put on isolation, but again it was because they got it at their school, or their parents brought it home from work. – Kristine Towes
“We had had a couple of cases pop up at different facilities of ours. But they were contained. We didn’t have any transmission within the gym, we’d have a person, contact and let us know or we had a staff member that may be contracted it, but then nobody else retracted it from them while they were in the gym,” said Iasenzaniro.
Both women hope that the government will re-evaluate their decision and reopen fitness centres soon as it is impacting all aspects of their lives.