In a statement shared with MTL Blog, the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale explains that the closure order for the Mega Fitness Gym came after "a visit to the premises on Tuesday afternoon revealed obvious sanitary shortcomings."
The health authority claims there was "no check for the presence of symptoms when clients and workers arrive," a lack of social distancing among clients and "inadequate personal protection for workers on site."
"Our epidemiological investigations [...] indicate that clients of the Mega Fitness Gym are associated with at least eight (8) outbreaks in their workplaces," says the CIUSSS.
MTL Blog has reached out to the gym for comment. We'll update this article when we receive a response.
Quebec gyms have been open in all regions, including the red zones, since March 26.
This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.
As Quebec's new COVID-19 cases continue to decline and with the rules on gatherings, restaurants, gyms — and more — changing quickly, MTL Blog went through your DMs and answered your questions about what it means to be at a "Level 2–Early Warning (yellow)" alert level.
Can I go to a terrasse with people from different households?
As of Monday, people from two different addresses can sit together at a single table at an outdoor restaurant or bar terrasse.
That means if you're a group of eight people from four different addresses, you'll have to sit at two separate tables.
But as long as you keep it to two households, the number of people doesn't matter.
What are the differences between orange and yellow zone rules?
There are lots of differences between both alert levels, but primarily, yellow and green zones allow for larger gatherings than red and orange zones.
Until Monday, restaurants are only permitted to seat a maximum of two people from different addresses at a single restaurant table, but occupants of the same household can sit together, no matter how many they are.
In yellow zones, an unlimited number of people can be seated at a table, as long as they make up two households.
While places of worship in orange zones are limited to 100 people, the limit is upped to 250 people in yellow zones.
Weddings and funerals in places of worship in orange zones are limited to 25 people. In yellow zones, the allowance is increased to 50 people.
Do we still have to wear masks?
Yes, in most cases.
You do not have to wear masks in most outdoor settings where you can practice social distancing, or when you're eating or drinking at your table in a restaurant or bar.
When gathering indoors in private homes located in yellow zones, masks and social distancing are still required.
Masks have to be worn in movie theatres until you are seated in the theatre. Only then can you remove your mask, provided you remain silent.
Masks must also be worn in auditoriums, but may be removed once the person is seated.
Wearing a face covering is mandatory for spectators of indoor sports aged 10 and over, except in facilities where seats are assigned in advance.
According to Éconofitness, in yellow zone gyms, wearing a mask is mandatory to circulate within the gym and when 2-metre social distancing is not possible, such as in the free weights section.
They're not mandatory when you can social distance — but it's recommended that you wear a mask for better protection.
When will clubs be open?
Bars are permitted to reopen their indoor spaces on Monday, and a club is a type of bar.
However, you will have to remain seated at all times — no dancing or singing is permitted at this time.
Occupants two households can be seated at the same table, regardless of the number of people.
For the time being, bars will close at midnight and stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m.
Are there any updates on interprovincial travel?
In yellow zones, travel between regions and cities is still not recommended, but it is possible.
The Quebec and Ontario border is still closed and it's currently prohibited for someone from Ontario to be in Quebec or vice-versa. However, there are exceptions.
How many guests are allowed at weddings, and can they dance?
A maximum of 50 guests is permitted at weddings in places of worship in yellow zones.
The government doesn't specify whether singing or dancing is not permitted.
While singing and dancing are not currently permitted at bars, Quebec is allowing high school graduates to dance without masks at their proms.
What are the rules on indoor gatherings in homes?
Indoor gatherings are allowed! But they are limited to people from a maximum of two households.
Masks must be worn at all times and you also have to practice 2-metre social distancing.
What are the gym restrictions in yellow zones?
In yellow zone gyms, training activities carried out by yourself, in pairs or by members of two households are permitted.
Training at close proximity is not permitted, except among members of the same household.
Gyms have to keep a sign-in record, and they have to publicly post the maximum capacity of the gym.
At Éconofitness, you are not required to wear a mask while exercising, so long as you can practice social distancing — but it's recommended for further protection.
Some gyms are requiring booking your workout session online before attending so they can ensure the maximum capacity of the space is respected.
Gym locker rooms can open as of Monday.
When could Montreal become a green zone?
The government of Quebec has laid out a reopening plan with the goal of lifting almost all COVID-19 restrictions by the end of August if 75% of those aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
According to the plan, most Quebec regions should be green zones by June 28.
In green zones, there are larger occupancy limits for indoor spaces — but some limits don't change between yellow and green zones, such as weddings and funerals.
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.
You could make $19.75 an hour with insurance and more.
Now that the province is slowly going back to normal, many people are looking for work. Although job searching might seem scary in a post-COVID-19 world, don't be discouraged: prospects are actually brighter than they seem.
A lot of companies are hiring despite the pandemic, and National Bank of Canada is one of them. The financial institution is looking for part-time and full-time customer service representatives to work at its Montreal and Sherbrooke offices.
As one of Quebec's biggest banks, National Bank helps its 2.7 million clients meet their financial goals and bring their projects to life, like buying a home or starting a business. This people-centric mindset applies to the bank's employees too, who have access to great perks from day one.
If you're bilingual, have a high school diploma and know your way around technology, you can bring your ambitions to life by joining one of National Bank's call-centre teams. As an equal-opportunity employer, the company is open to candidates who are just starting out and to seasoned professionals who want to try a new career path.
As a customer service representative, you'll give clients an optimal online experience and bring a human touch to their interactions with the bank by answering their questions, helping them resolve their issues and giving them advice for their banking needs.
To succeed in this position, you'll need to be a good listener and have great people skills. You should also be good with computers.
On top of being paid $19.75 an hour, as a call-centre employee, you'll have access to paid training, flexible group insurance, retirement savings, stock-option plans and even tuition reimbursement. Depending on your schedule, you could also get night- and weekend-shift premiums.
You can also expect raises during your first year as you grow within your role.
Because National Bank wants its team to feel fulfilled at work, you'll have a ton of opportunities to grow your career, not only in the bank's call centres but also in other fields, like investment, credit, insurance and brokerage.
The company has an employee-assistance program and virtual healthcare to improve working conditions and employees' well-being. Staff can also volunteer for organizations that have a positive impact on society through National Bank's community involvement program.
As one of 26,000 National Bank employees, you'll receive preferred banking rates — so you can not only better understand clients' needs by putting yourself in their shoes but also find the best products and services for you.
If you want to take on new challenges and start on a fresh career path, you can apply for a customer service job online at the bank's website. There are several positions available in downtown Montreal and Sherbrooke.
Customer Service Representative
Company: National Bank
Locations: 600, rue De La Gauchetière O. in Montreal, right next to the Square-Victoria–OACI metro station, and 91, boul. Jacques-Cartier S. in Sherbrooke
Details: If you want benefits like flexible group insurance, a retirement savings plan, and a fast-paced and challenging work environment, National Bank is a great choice.
"Not only is my tenant paying off my mortgage, but I'm making a couple 100 bucks a month as well," Marshall said.
Marshall was also able to take out a line of credit on the property, he said, and use the equity to buy an additional property.
"You actually don't need to live in the property that you buy. I'm seeing clients who are in apartments with low rent [who] don't want to move but have got the money right now ... and are looking for smart ways to invest," he said.
What are some tips to help people save up for a revenue property?
When Marshall was saving up to buy his first property, he said he worked a second job.
"There's a lot of value to having that side hustle ... even if it's at Subway or it's at a landscaping company on Saturdays. It will add up significantly in the long run," he said.
He gave the example of adding $5,000 to your annual income.
"That might get you a second bedroom, that might get you a parking spot, that might get you a larger space," he said.
The pandemic, Marshall said, has also helped some of his clients save extra funds.
"You can't travel, you can't go to the restaurant, you can't go to the theatre, you can't go to the bar. So a lot of people right now are finding themselves with almost a disposable income," he said.
Marshall also recommends looking into Canada's Home Buyers' Plan program, which allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 — — tax-free — from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) to put toward buying or building a qualifying home.
What if you can't rent out your property for as much as your mortgage?
Marshall admitted that the rental market has not kept up with the "exploding" housing market. But he still doesn't see it as a deterrent.
"What I tell my clients is that you may not be making $100 a month or $200 a month. But as long as your property's going up [in value], I would argue that you're winning all day long," he said.
In other words, even if you're losing $100 a month because the rent is $100 less than the cost of the property, as long as the value of the property goes up — say half a percent or 1% each month — you're going to be making money long term.
A $300,000 property that increases in value by 5% in one year is worth $315,000 at the end of the year. So even if you lost $1,200 throughout the year, you still earned $13,800 in property value.
Where should people be looking to buy a revenue property? What areas?
Marshall said he's seeing newer homes with high rental demand in off-island communities, including Saint-Zotique and Coteau-du-Lac.
He gave the example of a client who bought a house for $335,000 and rented it to a tenant sight unseen for $1,850 a month, which will cover her mortgage plus make her an extra $300 a month.
"There's a high demand for properties because people want space now with people working at home," Marshall said.
"The Island of Montreal is becoming unaffordable for the average person. That's why we are seeing a big boom off-Island — Vaudreuil, Pincourt."
Marshall also said he feels like there's a big opportunity for people to buy new condos downtown right now because there's nothing to do with bars and restaurants closed and all the major festivals are cancelled.
"There's a lot of buildings right now that are sitting empty, needing sales so that they can continue to build their project," he said.
Is now the right time to buy a property or is it better to wait until the market cools off?
Marshall said that, for the first time ever, his clients looking for revenue properties outweigh those looking for places to live.
He attributes this to the mortgage rate, which is the interest rate you'll have to pay on your loan, being historically low — hovering around 2%. This would be one reason to take advantage of the current market.
He also said he doesn't expect the market to slow down any time soon.
"Although there are some people out there who are suggesting that the market will crash or slow down, it's showing no signs of slowing down. And, even if it does slow down, historically, it always goes up," he said.
"Get into it sooner than later. If you're renting right now you're paying somebody else's mortgage. You're contributing to somebody else's nest egg ... why not start your own?"
"Of course there is always that concern [...] it is a burden to have to put a halt on your business so many times in one year. People don't have as much appetite for online training and you don't get to observe your client as well as you'd like," said Yaz Cissé, owner of Yaz Body Shop in NDG.
Cissé also said the government should "do better" to ensure rules are explained more clearly and implemented more fairly. For example, he said personal training studios should not be lumped in with large commercial gyms
Both Verchinskaia and Cissé told MTL Blog the key to staying open is following all health and safety protocols — unlike the Quebec City gym linked to 141 COVID-19 cases, where officials discovered "sanitary shortcomings."
But, according to Aaron Wilson, co-founder of Rebl Union fitness studio in Griffintown, not all of the city's gyms are doing that.
"We're dismayed and angered by the unethical practice of some gyms in the city [...] We're seeing many gyms on social media not respecting social distancing or the amount of people allowed per square metre in their space," he said.
"These unethical practices will push gyms to closure once again. Not only will this force small businesses like ours to further suffer, but it also makes a mockery of what we are here to do as health professionals."