Gym manager expresses frustration over Quebec’s latest order to close in pandemic red zones


A gym operator in Dorval is voicing frustration and worry as fitness clubs in red zones across the province have been ordered to shutter for the third time in a year due to the pandemic.

“It’s just a bad situation for everybody,” said Vincent Sheffield, manager of Monster Gym.

Quebec Premier François Legault on Tuesday announced a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in the province’s red and orange zones as the number of new cases linked to variants continues to climb.

The move comes less than two weeks after gyms were given the green light to reopen after being shuttered for close to six months.

“I would rather stay closed than to open for two weeks given the fact I have employees who have families and they have received half a paycheque and now they have to apply for unemployment again,” Sheffield said.

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READ MORE: Gyms closing, school rules change again as Quebec tightens COVID-19 restrictions in certain zones

Members at Dorval’s Monster Gym took full advantage of their limited time, as fitness centres will be forced to close as of Thursday.

“I don’t think it’s really fair. Legault has to stop opening and closing. It’s not fair at all,” said Neil Holtzberg at the gym.

While most members at the gym say they were not surprised to hear about the closure, they were frustrated because they claim to be following all the necessary guidelines.

“I was really happy, now I’m depressed,” Nathalie Flahiff said. “We’re obviously abiding by all the rules and we’re still getting shut down. It’s unfortunate.”

A recent outbreak in a Quebec City gym has led to the infection of close to 200 people and counting, according to the city’s health authority on Monday.

Personal trainer Jesse Flynn says he is “fed up” and “disgusted” by the government’s decisions.

Training clients out of the gym, Flynn says he will now be forced to break the rules to survive.

“I will do what I have to, to feed my family, to pay my mortgage, pay my electricity, and to put food in the mouths of the people I love,” Flynn said.

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It’s a sentiment felt by Sheffield, who says he is confident his business will survive but worries others in the industry may fall under financial pressure.

“The vicissitude of the government is very costly to us as a business,” Sheffield said.

READ MORE: Montreal fitness centres reopen to eager gymgoers after 6-month COVID-19 shutdown

In a written statement, Renaud Beaudry, vice-president of Econofitness, said the company is confident that the end of this “exceptional situation is near.”

He added the gym will follow the government’s directives “weathering this storm,” and close its gyms as of 9 p.m. Wednesday night once again

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