A kitten interacts with a human as folks take part in Yoga with Cats on Mats at the Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven, 2019. Indoor yoga, gyms and dance studios have been shut down since before Christmas by a COVID-19 public health order. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)

A kitten interacts with a human as folks take part in Yoga with Cats on Mats at the Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven, 2019. Indoor yoga, gyms and dance studios have been shut down since before Christmas by a COVID-19 public health order. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)

B.C. reopening gyms, fitness on Thursday with COVID-19 precautions

Spacing required for group and individual workouts, no fans or heaters permitted

B.C.’s yoga studios, gyms and group spaces for fitness and dance are allowed to reopen as of Jan. 20 with ventilation and spacing precautions, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday.

Indoor fitness facilities will have to provide a minimum 2.5 metre by 2.5 metre space, and will not be allowed to use fans or heaters. Participants will have to wear masks unless they are actually working out, and even there Henry said they are recommended if possible.

“It was a difficult decision to close gyms and fitness centres before the holidays, but it gave us time to assess the situation,” Henry said at a briefing Jan. 18.

Orders keeping liquor-primary bars and nightclubs remain in place, as well as 50 per cent capacity limits for stadiums and theatres. Restrictions on indoor gatherings and events are extended to Feb. 16 as the high level of infection from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues. Vaccine card restrictions and restaurant rules remain in place.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said as of Jan. 18, there are 854 people in B.C. hospitals with active COVID-19 infections, up from 819 in the past 24 hours, with 112 of them in intensive care, up from 99 on Monday. B.C.’s health authorities have begun reporting all cases of patients admitted and testing positive, which accounts for some of the increase this week.

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