Toronto gym backtracks on mandatory vaccination policy after backlash

May 31 2021, 11:06 am

A Toronto gym is scrapping its mandatory vaccination policy after backlash from customers who claimed it was discriminatory.

Sweat & Tonic, a spin, yoga, and HIIT workout studio near Yonge and Dundas, planned to only allow guests who’d received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to attend its classes when indoor fitness opens back up later this summer.

But after some people criticized the move, the studio decided to change course.

“It was never our intention to force anyone to make medical decisions faster than they had planned, and this policy was never meant to be divisive,” Sweat & Tonic wrote in an email to guests.

It has removed the mandatory vaccination policy for now, and will “continue to research, learn, and listen” to ensure the gym is safe when it reopens.

Several anti-vaxxers left offensive remarks on the gym’s Instagram, including some who called COVID-19 vaccines experimental, and one user who compared requiring vaccination to the Nazi’s control over Jews during the Holocaust.

“What an absolute joke. You do not care about health and wellness,” another user @kelseyr_xo wrote. “You are discriminating and segregating. Requiring proof of someone’s PRIVATE medical records is a complete violation of their Human Rights.”

But others praised the gym’s decision, including a healthcare worker who said she’d be happy to return to a gym with a mandatory vaccination policy.

“Thanks Sweat & Tonic for making responsible decisions based on SCIENCE and not anecdotes or personal opinions,” user @eaubeheyv wrote.

“Very thankful to receive your email about the vaccination policy,” another user @lindsaykmeredith wrote. “Can’t wait to come sweat with you all when the studio reopens.”

Sweat & Tonic initially announced its mandatory vaccination policy in a May 22 email to guests, saying the gym would become a vaccination-required facility to protect staff and guests from illness.

According to Ontario’s reopening plan, indoor sports and fitness facilities will be allowed to reopen when 70% to 80% of adults are vaccinated with one dose and 25% have two doses.

 

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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