Quebec Premier François Legault is threatening to fine defiant gyms and physical fitness clubs who want to reopen despite an ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
Approximately 200 different businesses have requested that the lockdown measures be repealed since new restrictions were introduced earlier this month in the province. The restrictions have been pushed forward to November 23 in red zones where there is an increase of coronavirus cases.
The businesses have formed an organization called Centres d’activités physiques du Québec and they are asking the premier to provide evidence that their facilities are linked to coronavirus outbreaks.
Should the premier not be able to provide definitive proof that gyms are causing a surge in their virus, the businesses are saying that they will open their doors on Thursday.
“The law must be respected. Gyms cannot be open,” said Legault, adding that any business that breaks the rules will be fined.
“I’ve got (clients) who are in (psychological) distress right now. … We have people who need physical activity to keep them from falling back into a chasm of anxiousness, anxiety,” gym owner Dan Marino told the Montreal Gazette.
“I’d rather get a ticket and challenge it with all of our group than find myself one morning saying I should have done something for someone who did harm to themselves.”
Legault has also warned that he is prepared to shut down dining in restaurants and bars in red zones should the virus escalate further.
Quebec is not the only province which has once again resorted to lockdown like measures. In Ontario, the provincial government has rolled back to Stage 2 restrictions.
Recently, the World Health Organization called on world leaders to not resort to lockdowns as a means of handling a surge in the coronavirus.
“We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” said WHO official Dr. David Nabarro.
“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.”