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Ford says he's 'pushing hard' to reopen restaurants, fitness centres in COVID hotspots

Gyms will remain closed across COVID-19 hotspots as part of modified Stage 2 restrictions until at least Nov. 7.
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Fitness centres and gyms across COVID-19 hotspots remain closed despite affirmation from its operators that they are safe. Mark Bertulfo

Ontario’s premier will not specify when, exactly, gyms and fitness centres will reopen across COVID-19 hotspots but did say that he’s pushing to have them back in operation soon.

“There is no one that wants to open up the economy more than I do. There is no one pushing the health table more than I do,” the premier said at Queen’s Park.

“I have confidence we’re going to work with the four regions that are shut down. I have been in constant conversation with Mayor Watson and Tory, the mayors in Peel and York… no one wants to get these restaurants and fitness centres opened up more than I do.”

“I am pushing. You have no idea how hard I am pushing to have them opened up,” Ford added.

This comes after GoodLife Fitness sent out an email to over 150,000 of its members urging them to reach out to their MPPs and ‘stand up for fitness.’

On Wednesday, Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, said she has been advised by heath officials that infection is happening across gyms and fitness centres across the province.

Gyms and its operators maintain, however, that high-rate transmission does not happen in its health clubs.

Ford said that he’s pleased with the progress Ontario has made since the start of the second wave, aiming to reassure the province that if the rate of infection slows, institutions and businesses will reopen in due time.

Toronto’s mayor, meantime, believes certain gyms in COVID-19 hotspots could reopen if certain conditions are met.

“You’ll recall that the advice we received and that we passed on to the provincial government, was that it was group activities in particular that, perhaps, formed more of a danger to public health,” Tory said.

Tory says he wants to find a way for people to be active and workout, confident a strategy will be found to do that.

Gyms will remain closed across COVID-19 hotspots as part of modified Stage 2 restrictions until at least Nov. 7.

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