Some Toronto, Peel residents appear to be crossing regional COVID-19 boundaries for exercise
Phil Tsekouras, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2020 10:26PM EDT
Days after gyms were closed in three of Ontario’s COVID-19 hotspots, some residents of neighbouring municipalities say they are beginning to see longer lineups at their local fitness centres.
“Usually it was just in and out now you're waiting upwards of 15 to 20 to 30 minutes,” Jay Osawe told CTV News Toronto outside of a gym in Milton, Ont.
Osawe suspects that the lines can be attributed to residents travelling from hotspots like Toronto and Peel Region, where gym access and indoor dining have been suspended in the face of climbing COVID-19 cases.
“They closed down those regions, now everybody is flocking over here now,” he said.
On Monday, video posted to Twitter showed a line of people wrapping around the LA Fitness facility in Milton. One guest made the trip from Brampton just to work out and said he didn’t see the problem with crossing over into another region.
“I think if you follow all the guidelines, wear a mask it shouldn't be too bad,” he said.
In Markham, the manager of an Orangetheory Fitness location said that he too has noticed people from Toronto and Peel Region hoping to break a sweat at the facility.
Ryan Salvador said that systems have been put in place as a result to prevent people from those hotspot regions from attempting to book a workout.
“Their membership at their home studio is being suspended and they can't book at any other locations,” he explained.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said he’s been hearing from concerned residents over the recent trend and warned businesses to exercise caution.
“You may be winning for the next few days because you're allowing those customers to come in but in the long term we're all going to get hurt,” he said.
“So much of this is common sense and it is the responsibility of corporations that they are minimizing everything they can to further limit the spread of COVID-19.”
There are currently no rules in place preventing travel between regions and the province has said that restricting movement of residents would be almost impossible to enforce.
On Wednesday, the Ontario government announced that it was reviewing its COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions for gyms and cycling studios province-wide following a major outbreak at a spin studio in Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Scarpitti said that York Region Health officials are closely monitoring the situation at gyms and restaurants and should any issues arise, they won’t hesitate to ask the province to extend the restrictions into the region.