'Totally closed': Sports and activity centres cope with lockdown

The impact of the shutdown will be significant on businesses centred around activity. The vast majority of gyms, sports and arts are all idled.

A home, to all of the above, is the Activity Plex in London's southeast end.

Opened last fall in a former Rona store on Commissioners Road, the Activity Plex hosts everything from karate and dance classes to an elite gym.

Thanks directly to the pandemic, the facility has never held a grand opening.

But Adam Jacobson, who operates three Activity Plex locations in Ontario, says as soon as people can gather there will be one.

Until then, his tenants struggle to keep going virtually during yet another lockdown.

“I don’t know if there is another option besides riding it out, and really hope for ‘normal’ to come back.”


Adam Jacobson, the operator of London’s Activity Plex is seen in an online interview with CTV News.

In all of this, it’s hard to find something to 'cheer' about says Jill Craven. She is a partner at Cheer Strike, a London cheerleading training centre in Hyde Park.

Craven says she is still taking in the reality of what another lockdown will mean for business.

“Totally closed. We have to close our doors in terms of any kids being inside our gym.”

And while virtual options remain, Craven says it is just not the same for cheer coaches or students. During previous lockdowns, some decided to drop the sport.

“If kids lose interest, if they move onto something else, it affects our business.”

As a landlord, Jacobson says he’s helped some Activity Plex tenants, in different ways, through recent months.

Still, without government financial aid, he believes some might not have survived this far into the pandemic.

“It would be, I dare say, impossible for some tenants to meet their obligations.”


Jill Craven of Cheer Strike London, is seen in a Zoom interview with CTV News.

Craven expects Cheer can survive into the fall when it’s anticipated all Canadians who want it, will be vaccinated. She agrees government funding helps.

“We are grateful for what we’ve had. But, yeah, without bodies in our gym it’s hard to keep paying rent.”

And hard for all activity operators to figure out staffing and scheduling when the pandemic constantly forces change or closure.