Reopening gives Saskatoon gyms and bars 'optimism’

Step One of the province’s reopening strategy kicked of Sunday, giving restaurants and fitness classes a bit of a business boost.

“Phase one doesn’t make a bunch of big changes for us. What it’s done for me is given optimism and hope that we’re going to be able to return to some semblance of normal," said Daniel Beavis, an owner of O’Shea’s Irish Pub.

Step One allows restaurants and bars to seat tables of six people. Restaurant seating capacity can also be increased since tables don’t have to be two meters apart if there is a structural barrier between them.

“It’s a nice stepping stone the way these phases are set up,” said Beavis. “By the time we get to phase two, that for us is a bigger change. So it will be nice just to feel like we’re allowed, to be socializing again.”

Step Two is set to begin June 20 and has no cap on table capacity.

Step Two will also make fitness classes more accessible, said Fitness Focus owner Garret Blackwell.

“Some of our more popular classes, we have had to turn members away, simply due to the limited numbers in a class.”

His gym provides yoga, Zumba, boot camp and other fitness classes. In total, he says they offer around 30 classes a week.

“Now we can have four more people per class, which is significant.”

The gym hasn’t taken a huge hit in season passes over the past year. Like the steps taken to provide restaurants with more business, he thinks the gradual steps are the right move.

“With the steps allowing more people per class, hopefully, eventually, getting away from masks full time, that will encourage people to get back out.”