Clarence Emile, co-owner of Centre U Fit, told MTL Blog that he and his partner are "really excited."
In November, Emile was left confused about what he could do in his gym due to ambiguous language surrounding government rules, resulting in multiple visits from the SPVM.
"Obviously it sucks because we've been away from our clients for so long [...]. It took a little too long since all other businesses like physical therapists were open — especially since we don't do [anything] hand-to-hand," he said.
Emile said his main concern with reopening is that the government will decide to shut down gyms again in the next few months.
"Every time we close and reopen there's a football team of clients that rush to the gym wanting personal training," he said, describing the state of flux as difficult for new businesses.
In addition to personal training, Emile said he hopes small group classes will be allowed in Montreal soon like they are in orange zones.
Centre U Fit's clients already use a platform to reserve spots in classes and book appointments so reopening while implementing public health rules, such as keeping a log and limiting the number of people at the gym, should be a smooth transition, according to Emile.
"We've been getting messages for the past couple of weeks since we started opening the stores and our clients are like, 'Do you know when they're gonna reopen the gyms? I've been inactive for so long,'" he said.
"My clients are going to be super excited. They're going to for sure rush to the gym. And we're gonna be as happy to see them."
Gyms are posting plans on social media
Gyms across the city are posting on social media or on their websites to acknowledge the reopening.
"Finally some good news! The gov authorities have authorized the reopening of training centers as of Friday, March 26th," wrote Gym St-Henri on Facebook.
"Econofitness Members, rest assured that we will be ready to welcome you from this date in a clean, pleasant and safe environment," Econofitness posted.
Econofitness also shared a blog post on "the three golden rules of going back to the gym for a quick, safe and fun individual workout."
It says all Nautilus Plus centres located in the red zone (it provides a full list) are set to reopen as of March 26.
What going back to the gym could be like
The government stated that training in red zones will be limited to individuals, pairs or members of the same household bubble.
Since gyms are already open in orange zones, it gives us a sense of what going back to the gym will look like.
Nautilus Plus has an FAQ section on its website with the COVID-19 measures in place, including wearing masks as you enter the gym, mandatory hand washing when you enter, mandatory use of a training towel, keeping a 2-metre distance and protective plexiglass at the reception.
But don't expect a typical Montreal Pride Parade complete with vehicles, floats, dancers, and all the usual festivities. According to a press release, the current health context does not allow for a traditional parade.
However, Montréal Pride says holding a march "returns to the roots of the Pride movement by handing back the public space to participating communities," specifically focusing on amplifying the voices of diverse sexual and gender communities that were "made close to invisible" during the pandemic.
"The first demonstration in favor of the Montréal 2SLGBTQI+ communities’ rights was held in 1979, organised by the Pink Brigade [...] with 52 marchers participating," said Jean-François Perrier, interim director of the Montréal Pride Festival, in a statement.
"It is therefore with great pride that we confirm [...] a unifying activity open to all that will allow the advocacy and community aspects of the festival to shine."
The Pride March will take place on August 15 and will depart from Jeanne-Mance Park at 1 p.m.
Since July 1, it has been possible for people who have had to recover from unemployment due to the pandemic and for people who have not been studying full time in the last 12 months to register for one of the training programs of the Program for the requalification and the accompaniment in information technology and communications (PRATIC).
Whether it's a college or university program, a certificate, an attestation of college studies (AEC) or a diploma of specialized graduate studies (DESS), among others, there are 142 training programs waiting for future students.
In Montreal alone, nearly sixty college programs and 20 university programs are available, and a total of 15 in the Capitale-Nationale region.
There are, for example, ACSs in programming, multimedia production, mobile application development or graphic design, to name a few.
The complete list of training courses offered by region can be found on the government website.
Thanks to a budget of some $39.6 million, financial assistance of $650 per week will be offered to 2,500 Quebecers for the duration of their full-time training. A $1,950 bursary will be awarded to graduates.
Who is eligible to enroll in PRATIC?
Two criteria will determine if a person is eligible to register for PRATIC. You must be unemployed and not have been a full-time student in the 12 months prior to applying.
The government suggests that you contact the Services Québec office in your area and an agent will determine with the future student if PRATIC corresponds to his/her needs.
Remember last year when it seemed that every week there were new COVID-19 rules that the Quebec government would spring on us and we all felt really down? Well, it's the same thing this year, but instead of misery, we're feeling optimistic because this summer's new COVID-19 rules have an eye towards a pandemic-freefuture.
One of the major changes coming on Monday is that you no longer have to maintain a two-metre distance between other people.
According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), "the distance to be respected between people from different residences will be lowered from two meters to one meter, both outside and inside."
There are still two situations that require two-metre distancing, however: "singing activities" and "high-intensity exercise in gyms," according to the government.
Wearing a face mask is still mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
Let's get flexible
No, not like that!
We're talking about stores, festivals, sporting events, and other activities with potentially large crowds.
As of Monday, there won't be any capacity limits inside retail stores. While you still have to maintain a one-metre distance, there will be no more annoying lineups outside.
Moreover, in venues with fixed seating, people from different households only need to keep one seat between them and other parties. One-metre distancing is still required in common areas.
Finally, "at amateur events where spectators are seated in bleachers, bleachers or fixed seating, the maximum number of spectators permitted per sports venue is 50 indoors and 100 outdoors."
The government has also reminded Quebecers that "since June 25, adequately protected people" — i.e. people with two doses of a vaccine — "no longer have to follow the recommendations on distancing and wearing a face covering during gatherings in private homes."
The bill was first tabled by Quebec's Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, in December 2020, and it was passed following consultations between the government and Indigenous families in Quebec.
The goal was to meet the needs of Indigenous families while respecting their "culture and language, and also their suffering," according to the ministry.
The ministry also said it hopes "to support families in their quest for truth and also in the healing process."
In 2019, a report by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on the Quebec government to provide Indigenous families with information on children who had been apprehended following admission to a hospital or health centre in Quebec.
How does the new law work?
Once it's implemented on September 21, Bill 79 will give Indigenous families access to personal information from "a health and social services institution, an organization or a religious congregation" about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance or death of children admitted to a health and social services institution in Quebec before December 31, 1992.
The government will provide the information through exemptions to Quebec's current laws that prevent disclosing personal information.
Under the new law, Quebec's minister responsible for Indigenous affairs will also have the power to launch an investigation if government information could help Indigenous families, but can't be disclosed because of the province's existing rules on disclosing personal information.
How have Indigenous leaders reacted to the new law?
On June 14, leaders from the Cree Nation said that while the law is an important step to "apologize or begin to compensate for the harm suffered by Indian Residential School survivors," the scope of the law needs to be revised since Indigenous children "were taken and never returned" for reasons beyond medical care in Quebec.
The Cree Nation specified that Quebec's education system was the largest "pretext for the institutionalized abduction of children," and that the school system's absence from Bill 79 means more action is needed.
The Grand Council of the Crees stated that not all Indigenous youth or community members will feel comfortable contacting the Quebec government for help with traumatic events that were associated with "governments they do not feel are their own."
The Council recommended that Quebec put mechanisms in place so Indigenous governments can represent and serve the needs of their own people.