Thirty-eight students and staff at Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack have now tested positive for COVID-19, a superspreader event that has Fraser Health considering what to do about indoor fitness facilities it says have a higher risk of transmission.
“We are taking a closer look at these settings,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, the chief medical health officer of Fraser Health. “There are no orders in place at present, but we will be looking at them closely in the coming days.”
That has the owner of North Shore Academy of Dancing concerned studios could be forced to close like they were in March.
“I invite these people to come in and look at our procedures and our policy, because I feel we are doing a really good job at keeping our community safe,” said Dylan Steyns. “If they have any information for us to help enhance that, I want to hear it.”
He says an order to close would be devastating for his business and the dancers.
“For a lot of our students, this is their lives. This is what they do. This is what wakes them up in the morning. This is everything for them,” said Steyns.
“With my ballet program, the children are actually attending 20 hours a week, so it’s almost more than what they are actually doing school-wise,” said Tracy Bloch, of Ballet Bloch Canada, which operates out of the NSAD studios. “To take that away from them is so disheartening, so it’s vitally important to keep that going.”
Steyns says his studio is doing everything it can to prevent COVID-19, including increased ventilation, having dancers wear masks and socially distanced classed. But he knows nothing is foolproof.
“You can’t ask COVID to be in one place and not another. It’s everywhere. I think all we can do as a business is follow the procedures,” he said. “We’ve been really lucky so far.”