On Tuesday, December 15th, ViaSport held a news conference to update Provincial Sport Organizations with the latest coronavirus-related information relating to low-intensity exercise.  The Provincial Health Office’s latest document, based on evidence as of December 14th, provides guidelines for fitness centres, studios, recreation centres, and gyms that provide group low intensity exercise classes. Public Swimming Pools are not covered by these guidelines.

This document provides guidelines  to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and maintain safe and healthy environments for those participating in group low intensity exercise. It identifies key infection prevention and exposure control practices to implement in these settings.

When community levels of COVID-19 are high, indoor exercise has been identified as higher risk activities for virus transmission, especially in communal settings with reduced ventilation (e.g. hot yoga) and during participation in high intensity activities (e.g. spin classes) or other physical activities where physical distancing cannot be maintained. From experiences in B.C., the transmission of COVID-19 in these settings has been primarily from groups gathering without adequate physical distance before, during, or after the activity. This is the rationale behind many of the Provincial Health Officer orders aimed at reducing group activities or those that have the potential for group gatherings where appropriate physical distancing is not maintained.

The risk for COVID-19 transmission in these settings is potentially high, because evidence shows that COVID-19 is more easily transmitted under the following circumstances:

  • When people are exercising; especially when they are:
    – Breathing more deeply and quickly
  • Moving around in a confined space in groups or mixing with others in the space
    – Indoors, especially in spaces with limited ventilation and where physical distancing cannot be maintained
    – In spaces where people gather in groups and are speaking loudly or shouting

Because community levels of COVID-19 risk will change over time in the province, the risk of cases or clusters in fitness centres, studios and gyms may increase or decrease in future. These guidelines will be updated as the pandemic evolves.

Learn more, download and read the full Guidelines for Group Low Intensity Exercise HERE.