Ottawa's top doctor wants you to wear a mask while working out in gyms and fitness centres when they reopen this weekend.
Ottawa will move into the new "restrict" level at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, allowing gyms, fitness centres, bars and restaurants to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new rules for sports, gyms and fitness centres includes a maximum 50 people in the facility at all times, required screening of patrons and appointments for entry. The new rules released by the Ontario Government state face coverings are required except when exercising.
However, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches recommended to Mayor Jim Watson and the Ontario Government that masks be worn at all times in gyms, including while working out.
"It would have implications. People would have to decrease the intensity of their exercise. There is vigorous cardiovascular exercise; you can't do with a mask on so you'd have to move that outdoors," said Dr. Etches during an interview on Newstalk 580 CFRA's The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll on Wednesday morning.
"I spoke with different people in the fitness industry. I think that, like restaurants, these businesses are doing their best to put in new ways of work. I think there are layers of precaution; like in schools we have layers of precaution."
At CrossFit NCR, where members have been training outdoors since the start of the modified Stage 2 on Oct. 10, they say masks won't be stopping them from working out.
"I mean the distancing, the cleanliness, that's really no problem at all, but I hope I won't have to wear a mask while working out. That's going to be a bit of a challenge," said Daniel Nahon on Wednesday.
"Let's be real, it's not super deal. I mean, no one wants to be working out with a mask, but we're in a pandemic and there's a lot of things we don't want to be doing right now," said Paul Tremblay, co-owner of CrossFit NCR.
The medical officer of health admits your workout would need to change while wearing a mask, but it's another layer of protection from COVID-19.
"In terms of the mask use all the time, that is something people can do. The more people do that the better. If people can adjust the intensity of their exercise that would make it more possible," said Dr. Etches.
Speaking on CTV Morning Live Wednesday morning, Dr. Etches noted masks are not a requirement under the provincial framework for gyms reopening.
"The provincial framework acknowledges there are some types of cardiovascular activity where it's impossible to wear a mask," said Dr. Etches.
"We can decrease the risk by moving those high intensity activities outdoors, and then when you're in the gym doing the things you can tolerate wearing a mask."
At CrossFit NCR, Tremblay says work is underway to best utilize their space to welcome members back indoor safely.
"There’s a huge sense of relief for the business, but also for the amount of people we’re going to be able to see again and impact with the coaching that we do and the physical activity that they’re going to do here, and we know the effects that can have long-term on people," said Tremblay.