'It's not viable': Alberta gyms say opening partially won't save them financially
EDMONTON -- Gyms and restaurants will be able to open partially in just over a week, but some business owners feel the move doesn’t go far enough to save their livelihoods.
Jordan Jeske is one of them. He owns The Projct, a gym and personal training facility in west Edmonton.
He’ll soon be able to able to offer one-on-one training by appointment only, but he said personal training is only a small part of his business.
“A big part of our business is still group training and so we’re still going to need to either have government help to pay our bills to take care of our staff,” he said.
“We still have thousands and thousands of costs that we need to cover and this helps definitely, it’s a step in the right direction, it wasn’t quite the step that we were hoping for.”
In addition to his bottom line, he pointed out that personal training isn’t accessible to all clients.
“Which a lot of people can’t afford especially during this time. It’s tough. You’re getting a lot of people very excited with the announcements and then very disappointed and very frustrated with still not being able to open.”
Kelsey Snow agrees. She’s the business director for the Edmonton Dance Factory.
“I think that it will help our students and that we will be able to get some students into the studio which is positive for sure but really when it comes down to it it’s not viable for our business long-term,” she told CTV News Edmonton.
She said her business has worked hard to be able to offer a safe environment for its dancers.
“We’ve made significant investment in technology, in robust contact tracing, in things to be able to be open and we’d really like the opportunity to be able to show the government that we have these things in place and that we can operate safely.”
But at least one doctor believes it’s too soon to talk about opening fitness facilities.
“If we’re going to have to lockdown for several weeks anyways, why not make it worthwhile. Make it a strong lockdown, get to zero cases of COVID and not have that yo-yo impact on the economy and that terrible impact on people’s health and the health system,” said Dr. Tehseen Ladha.
Ladha, who is an associate professor at the University of Alberta pediatrics department and holds a masters in public health thinks that stricter measures are necessary, but that the government needs to provide financial support for businesses.
“I understand that businesses are struggling I think that it’s horrible that they’ve been basically bleeding money for months and months and months and I think what’s really important here is yes I’m advocating for the restrictions to be maintained, but I’m also advocating for financial support for businesses.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson