When Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke Thursday afternoon, all of the spin class owners in British Columbia said a collective, ‘Oh no!’
The province’s provincial health officer has rarely targeted a specific business type in her COVID briefings, but she dropped a bomb with this quote.
“We know there’s been spin classes here in B.C. where we’ve had 20 or 30 people being infected. Right now, spin classes in Metro Vancouver are dangerous. We should not be doing those things.”
In Chilliwack, Shannon Lynn’s heart sank.
Since 2016 she has run spin classes at the Chilliwack Coliseum, first as the Spin Room (2016) and since 2017 as Club XO.
“Our goal throughout this has been to make sure our community is safe and our staff is safe, and when she said that it was dangerous, but didn’t mandate us to close, I found it very confusing,” Lynn said. “Not just for a business owner but for our clients.
“I would rather she say ‘close,’ instead of just leaving it open as ‘dangerous, but don’t close.’”
Lynn did close her doors in the spring when it was mandated by Henry. From mid-March through early July she rented out her bikes and clients took them home to do online classes. When she re-opened, she did so following the rules laid out for her. All staff wear masks and customers are urged to do the same from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they’re clipped onto their bikes. All of the bikes are spaced six feet apart and thoroughly disinfected between classes.
“It’s the new way of the world, right?” she said.
Lynn said she’s actually gone a step further. Not only do they spray the bikes, but they also use of a commercial-grade fogger that disperses disinfectant over the entire room, sanitizing in a way a spray bottle could only dream of.
She jokes that her staff look like Ghostbusters using the device.
“If I felt it was dangerous, I don’t think we would have re-opened,” she said. “We’re doing every single thing we can to make sure everything is safe, and I don’t like that it was left up in the air so our clients are like, ‘Well, I’m going to go to a gym, but should I go? Is this dangerous?’
“It was a bold, bold statement by Dr. Henry, and a comment like that can be really damaging.”
Lynn said she’s waged an inner battle with herself about whether to stay open or close proactively, and she’s decided to keep going for now.
“After her comments, it’s really scary because I have two kids and this is my livelihood,” Lynn said. “I’ve gone back and forth on this and I don’t know what the right answer is. I love this community and I love what I do and that passionate voice tells me to keep going and help.
“This is a mental release for people, where they can come into that room and whatever’s going on in their life, they can close their eyes in the dark and release the stress of the world right now. It’s a good thing, so we’re doing what we can to survive and give everyone that outlet.”
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