Fitness facilities can open for people with disabilities

Fitness facilities in Ontario can open during the stay-at-home order to help people with disabilities.

Midtown Yoga KW is able to reopen during the shutdown under the Disabilities Act.

"In order for us to provide a service to you, you do need to provide us with a doctor's note," owner Rebecca Rose said.

That note can come from a physician, chiropractor or physiotherapist to allow people with disabilities, injuries or mental health concerns to exercise in some facilities.

"It's very contained, we have spaced out our sessions," Rose said. "We have a minimum of 45 minutes between each of our sessions."

Rose said in that time, they do a deep clean of the space.

Barbara Robinson injured her hamstring and is now working through recovery.

"I've had a weakness in that hamstring for about 10 years, but about a year ago it really flared up," she said.

Midtown Yoga started offering a new program earlier this week and about 40 existing members have signed up for classes.

Members of F45's Waterloo North and Sportsworld locations have also been able to sign up for sessions.

"About 50 or 60 people at our one studio, and about 30 or 40 at the other studio," owner Brittany McLean said.

The province announced the new rule for fitness facilities in grey "lockdown" tiers in February.

"I can't even believe that this wasn't available for our first lockdowns." McLean said.

Jill Tracey, a kinesiology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said people need exercise when they are working towards recovery.

"I think that's vital," she said. "A sense of control, autonomy, anything we can do to enhance or increase our confidence."

"I need that support," Robinson said. "I don't want to sit at home and figure out how to resolve this."

The province said facilities aren't required to open and will need to follow all local guidelines on physical distancing, masking, cleaning, screening and capacity limits.