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Dozens of B.C. gyms reportedly set to open Tuesday regardless of if closure order lifts

To open or to not: these B.C. gym owners say no more closure

West Kelowna gym owner Brian Mark says 50 businesses owners across the Okanagan met Sunday afternoon to discuss what he calls "operation green light."

Mark says roughly 30 people met in person at a Kelowna business, while 20 joined in over Zoom.

"Everybody is on the exact same page. We are ready to stand up for our freedoms. We are ready to stand up for our right to exercise and we are ready to make fitness essential."

Mark says on January 18 businesses that gathered will be opening their doors regardless of if the closure order is lifted or not.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered gyms in B.C. to close on Dec. 22 amid a surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant. She suggested some health restrictions could be lifted Tuesday, now that modelling shows the Omicron wave has peaked, but has not offered specifics.

"After we made our public stance we inspired Our Yoga Space and Bliss Yoga Space to open up. We have inspired MLA's to speak on our behalf. There are other MLAs speaking up. What you are really seeing is a ripple effect of positive momentum."

"Freedom of the people really means that we have a right to exercise," Mark added.

Iron Energy has been fined and ordered to close by Interior Health.

Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart sent a letter to the Minister of Health asking that gyms across the province have permission to open their doors. In Stewart's letter, he claims there is a lack of data surrounding the spread of COVID-19 in gyms and fitness facilities.

"We discussed that with Dr. Henry in a private call on Monday, and it is really the old information or the historical information that they are relying on."