Victoria News | Local Breaking | CTV News Vancouver Island
Martial arts studio says reopening not possible under current rules
Published Saturday, May 16, 2020 6:43PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Gyms, yoga studios, personal trainers and martial arts studios are among the many businesses allowed to reopen Tuesday in regions of B.C. where they were ordered to close.
That's good news for many Vancouver Island residents eagerly awaiting a return to their workout routines, but not for those whose routines include close-contact martial arts.
The owners of Fierce Studio in Victoria say they won't be reopening Tuesday, because it's just not practical for them to do so given the nature of the classes they offer.
The studio specializes in Brazilian jiu jitsu, which involves a lot of wrestling-like techniques that require another person to practice, said co-owner Ari Kanzan.
"We're kind of a close-contact martial art," Kanzan said. "It's impossible for us to open and there's no end in sight yet for us."
He said the studio has been searching for creative workarounds, but they're difficult to find. Offering online classes doesn't work when the essence of the sport is close physical contact, and modifying in-person classes to avoid contact isn't a possibility either.
"It's like saying to a bakery, 'Well, you're in the food industry, so why don't you just start making chocolate? Be a chocolatier,'" Kanzan said.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has been the toughest time the studio has experienced in 18 years of business, and he said he knows other martial arts studios are having similar struggles.
Any gym or similar facility planning to reopen must develop and release a health safety plan. They're also required to limit the number of people inside at one time, ensure a staff member is present at all times to monitor physical distancing, and disinfect regularly.