Quebecers Are Planning To Protest Gym Closures This Week (UPDATED)
The news that as of April 8, Quebec red zone gyms will be forced to close for the third time since the pandemic began has upset many locals, and one decided to plan a protest to denounce the new measures.
UPDATE: The protest is no longer planned to take place at the Monster Gym parking lot.
EARLIER: But the gym whose parking lot is the designated protest location says it has not authorized the protest and will not allow it to happen.
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What's planned for the protest?
Francis Plouffe, the creator of the event, wrote, "The question is to find a way to pressure our leaders and society as a whole to understand that physical training and sport are essential to our mental health.
"This is why we are calling all those who care about this issue to a collective training as a way to protest," they continued.
The plan is for all attendees to meet in the parking lot of Monster Gym in Dorval at 12 p.m. and everyone brings their own equipment to work out with.
Social distancing is highly encouraged. "We are aware that there are risks, but on the other hand, we are confident that it can all be done safely. We will try to provide bottles of antiseptic hand gel and as for masks, we have no problem if you want to wear them as a preventive measure."
What is the Monster Gym's reaction?
Monster Gym communications manager Christopher Michaels says the gym will not allow the protest to take place on its property.
He identified Plouffe as a gym member. "We reached out to him and asked him not to [hold the protest]," Michaels told MTL Blog.
Michaels said that the company does not want such a protest taking place on its private property "because we have other businesses that are open right now, we have a barbershop, a supplement store and a physiotherapy clinic [and] those businesses would be directly impacted."
"I understand where people are coming from, [...] we're all frustrated. [...] I think there are other ways to demonstrate it. I just don't think using a fitness facility's property is the way to do it."
"[The protest would be] more destructive to the businesses that are there right now than to the government," Michaels concluded.
Why were gyms closed in the first place?
Montreal gyms were allowed to reopen their doors as of March 26.
Then, on April 6, François Legault announced during a press conference that starting two days later, gyms in Quebec red zones would have to close, yet again.
Legault said this new restriction is being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from the Monster Gym, which says it has not authorized the planned protest in its parking lot.