One Vernon gym can’t answer the bell as the province reopens in the COVID-19 pandemic.
9Round Fitness owners Ralph and Mily Buisine have alerted members they are permanently closing as a result of the pandemic.
“We can tell you it has been the most emotionally difficult time of our lives,” said the couple in a post on the gym’s Facebook page. “Not knowing if or when the curve will flatten, having to deal with the 9Round bills we had to continue to pay knowing that we haven’t been able to apply to any relief financial program, losing members daily because they or their partners have lost their jobs as well and can no longer afford a membership even after the fact.”
Part of the pair’s decision to shut down for good stems from the fact there are still plenty of unknowns. Like how many people will actually return to a gym, and with a second wave being imminent in the fall, they said, how long would they be able to operate until another mandatory shutdown.
Additional costs to reopen the small gym in the Vernon Square Mall added to the frustration. The gym’s layout would only allow five of its nine stations to remain open and members would have to go around twice to complete their rounds. That would mean five people working out, scheduled class times and a minimum one-minute stoppage between each round for members and the gym’s employee to spray and wipe down the entire area and floor with disinfectant
“Everyone would have to wear masks and long sleeves/tights as well to prevent airborne sweat and spit particles travelling beyond two metres, no matter if we/you like it or not,” said the owners. “And again nobody knows the risks to workout with a face mask.”
Employees would have to wear a mask and a face shield and clean before and after each member.
“The risk of reopening during this time with such drastic alterations to our operations would just add more financial and emotional stress than we can possibly take,” said Mily. “Ralph and I are completely heartbroken that this has happened to our businesses, our family, our savings, and even more, to the communities that we have built within those walls for the past three years.”
More than a dozen members, friends and patrons expressed their regret but understanding with the decision as of Monday, May 25.
All of the gym’s equipment and furniture are for sale. If you are interested, you can contact the owners at firstname.lastname@example.org.