If you're missing your local fitness studio and the community that comes along with it, you're not alone. Although a bunch of places across the province have begun opening their doors as part of the Alberta reopening strategy, the gyms and fitness studios have still a long way to go. If you're wondering "when will gyms reopen in Alberta?" it looks like the gyms are wondering the same thing. In fact, a bunch of small gyms and fitness centres are rallying to open their doors much sooner and their petition has brought in over 15,000 signatures so far.
Under the current relaunch strategy posted on the Government of Alberta website, gyms and recreation centres can only begin reopening at Stage 3.
No timeline has been provided for that stage as of May 19, but the province does mention that they will only be implementing Stage 3 if they see success from the first two stages.
Other places that can also begin opening again at Stage 3 include art and culture festivals, concerts, sporting events, nightclubs, pools, and more.
However, the petition that's been going around the internet claims that small fitness centres do not necessarily need to be grouped with the big-box gyms.
The Change.org petition is titled, "Open Small Fitness Boutiques in AB Phase 2 Relaunch," and is directed at Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
The post begins by saying that the province is "lumping all gyms in with large rec centres."
But the creators of the petition claim that the province's decision to make these smaller gyms reopen later than other small businesses is "very unfair."
The post explains that small boutique fitness studios can operate at 50% capacity and practice social distancing. Therefore, Jason Kenney should reconsider lumping all gyms in together and let these small centres open up for Stage 2.
Many of the small studios have formed an official group called The Alberta Boutique Studio Alliance.
They've also made a video outlining their demands and explaining why they feel like they should be moved up in the relaunch plan.
Stage 2 of the relaunch plan would allow places like movie theatres, libraries, tanning salons, and massage therapy practices to welcome the public again.
The petition post also outlines four reasons as to why these small fitness centres should be given the go-ahead to open early.
First, they claim that they can run classes at 50% capacity. The capacity rule is also being applied for restaurants and retailers that opened on May 14.
Secondly, "quick contact tracing" can be done in these fitness centres if someone does contract COVID-19.
Other reasons include the need to keep the community fit and healthy, which would then "reduce pressure" on the health care system, and their ability to keep their centres well-sanitized as it's a "controlled environment."
At the time of writing, 15,579 people have signed in support of the petition. The goal has been marked as 25,000 on the site.
So far Alberta hasn't even announced a date for Stage 2, although the province does mention that they will only move through the stages after considering health care capacity, rates of hospitalization and ICU admission, and infection cases in general.