Ottawa gym owner says he won’t ask users for immunization status

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An Ottawa gym owner says that even though his business is taking other COVID-19 precautions, he and his staff will not require customers to prove they have been fully vaccinated once the certificate system has passed. The province’s vaccination will go into effect later this month.

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“Everyone has the right to fair and equal treatment, not to be denied entry,” Joshua Fry, owner of the OCR Academy on Morrison Drive, said Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, we are not a center of epidemiology, we are not a political party,” he said. “We just lift and put things down and we want to provide this service to as many people as possible. “

As part of the Ontario government’s plan announced last week, effective September 22, staff at restaurants, bars, event spaces, sports and fitness facilities, concerts, theaters and other non-essential indoor venues to high risk will need to ask customers to prove vaccination and photo ID. A digital vaccine certificate must be introduced by October 22.

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Fry said he had already complied with pandemic restrictions and his company was taking strict security measures. “It’s not that we’re anti-vax, and it’s not that we think this pandemic isn’t real,” Fry said.

“In this particular case, that’s enough and I’m not going to put up with it,” he said. “I feel comfortable resisting a law that I don’t think is fair.”

Fry said he informed more than 5,000 people on his company’s mailing list over the weekend of his position. He received only 20 responses, only a few of which were strongly negative, he said.

The email, shared with that newspaper, read: “Our facility has always been inclusive and has never discriminated against anyone on the basis of personal choice. I believe in your right to choose and provide informed consent as well as everyone’s right to privacy. We won’t ask, and you don’t have to show.

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“The nature of our gym presents many risks,” the email also reads. “We have put in place rules designed to ensure your safety and that of your family … strict measures in terms of cleanliness, sanitation, masks in common areas, physical distancing, preselection and education of people .

“Stay positive and test negative,” the email concluded.

Three of the 151 members of his gymnasium have resigned, but three new members have joined, he said. An employee resigned because of his position, Fry added.

Municipal officers and provincial inspectors are expected to enforce Ontario’s proof of vaccination requirements, starting with education and warnings. Individuals could be fined up to $ 750 and corporations could be fined $ 1,000 or more, depending on the offense.

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“Once received, we will review provincial government legislation with respect to the new vaccine regulations and develop operational measures and policies to ensure compliance,” Roger Chapman, director of administrative and regulatory services at the city.

Implementing Ontario’s public health guidelines “is the city’s top priority,” Chapman said.

Fry said he knew he could face repercussions. Law enforcement officials, he said, will receive a no-trespassing sign saying they cannot enter the gym unless they have a warrant.

He said denying people access to his gym would expose him to human rights complaints. No one raised the possibility of such a complaint with him, he said, but he heard from people who said they would report his business to Ottawa’s regulatory officers.

  1. Proof of vaccination will be required to enter bars, indoor restaurants and other businesses in Ontario

  2. Jeff Christison owns six of the nine Anytime Fitness locations that have opened in Ottawa.

    “Do everything by the rules”: opening of nine Anytime Fitness gyms in the Ottawa area

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