A Revelstoke business was recently ticketed for holding an indoor yoga class, despite current public health orders.
The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on Thursday, April 8. Upon arrival, officers found patrons participating in a group yoga class.
The police said they spoke with the owner and explained current COVID-19 regulations. However, the owner continued hosting the class, forcing police to issue a pair of tickets. One for hosting a non-compliant event for $2,300 and another for failing to comply with direction for $230.
On March 29, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new restrictions to slow surging COVID-19 infections, halting indoor dining, closing group fitness classes and banning in-person religious meetings. The new closures are scheduled to last until April 19.
Owner Rebecca Marchildon said these closures, on top of the prior two, are causing great economic devastation to her business.
“There’s not much more I can take.”
Although the government recently announced a grant to help businesses during the latest shutdowns, Marchildon said she does not qualify.
“I continually fall through the cracks.”
She said there is little sense in the latest closures as salons and massage studios are still open, places where people are in direct physical contact with each other. Yet, low-intensity yoga classes are shut.
While Marchildon could hold outdoor yoga classes, she said the weather in April is unpredictable. Today, it snowed in Revelstoke.
Marchildon said she has gone above and beyond safety guidelines with frequent cleanings, distancing and hand sanitizing since reopening last May, after a two-month lockdown. Her business is essential for her clients’ mental sanity and physical health, she said, which is one of the main reasons why she decided to stay open.
When the police arrived, her class had five people.
Marchildon recently sent a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry, asking her to reconsider the closure mandate.
“At what point do we say enough is enough?” said Marchildon. She said there is little evidence that proves small businesses, such as hers, is contributing to spiking COVID-19 numbers.
Alchemy Studio is the first business to be ticketed in Revelstoke relating to COVID-19 public health orders. Although none of the patrons at the yoga class were issued tickets, they could have been fined $575 for attending.
“We urge citizens to adhere to the orders being implemented to keep everyone safe and reduce the risk of virus transmission, said Sgt. Chris Dodds, detachment commander for Revelstoke RCMP.
“While we certainly can, and will enforce the provisions available to us under the Emergency Programs Act, we continue to encourage everyone to voluntarily comply with the provincial health orders, so enforcement actions are not required.”
Marchildon said she will not hold any more yoga classes as she awaits a reply from Dr. Bonnie Henry.
B.C. reported a record for new COVID-19 cases today (April 9) at 1,262.
*Correction notice: This story previously stated that businesses with contract employees are not eligible for any government relief. However the Small and Medium Business Recovery Grant is available to businesses that employed up to 149 people in B.C. for a least four months of the calendar year, including contracted staff, prior to Feb. 1, 2020. The website explaining the criteria also said that if you do not have staff you should explain how the grant funding would support your recovery and benefit your community.
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