A gym in Oakville has been ordered to close because of a COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak.
Gyms in Ontario are supposed to be closed until the province enters Step 3, but Muscle HQ stayed open despite pandemic restrictions by requiring clients to get a doctor’s note saying they need physical therapy for a disability.
But Halton Public Health ordered the facility to close on July 3 after a Delta variant outbreak was detected at the gym on June 28. So far 15 cases have been linked to Muscle HQ, according to Halton Public Health.
Co-owner Ali Siddiqui took to Instagram this week expressing his sadness with the decision.
“After six months of operation incident-free we finally found the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus in our gym. Within 48 hours we had several cases at our gym and we felt our responsibility to take action,” he said.
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The owners closed the gym for three days for a deep clean, but public health ordered them to remain closed after hearing about the situation.
Contact tracers have identified more than 400 people who are at high risk for exposure because they visited the gym or were in close contact with members who worked out there. Public Health has asked everyone who visited the gym between June 21 and July 3 to self-isolate for 14 days from their last date of exposure.
“Public Health is concerned about close contacts due to the indoor setting with limited masking and lack of supervision on-site to ensure physical distancing and capacity limits were adhered to,” a spokesperson for the municipality told Daily Hive in a statement.
The gym required masks to be worn in common areas but did not require them while people were exercising, according to a post on its Instagram.
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“These gym members may also be at higher risk for COVID-19 complications given that each person would have been required to provide written instruction from a qualified regulated health professional regarding their physical or mental disability to allow them to use the gym,” the Halton spokesperson said.
“As such, we are urging these individuals to isolate and get tested for their own well-being as well as for any other vulnerable people they may be living with.”
Gyms in the Greater Toronto Area have been closed since the region went into lockdown in November 2020.
Now that Ontario has moved into Step 2 more outdoor fitness classes are allowed, but indoor fitness facilities are still ordered shut. They’ll be allowed to reopen when the province enters Step 3 around July 21.