Indoor Tai Chi classes are among the “low-intensity” group exercises that are prohibited across B.C. until April 20. (Grand Forks Gazette)

Indoor Tai Chi classes are among the “low-intensity” group exercises that are prohibited across B.C. until April 20. (Grand Forks Gazette)

Indoor yoga, Tai Chi, ‘low-intensity’ fitness machines off limits in B.C.

Youth sports carry on with strict limits under COVID-19 orders

Light weightlifting, Hatha yoga, Tai Chi, low-intensity barre classes and plain old stretching in indoor groups have been added to B.C.’s list of COVID-19 prohibitions, at least until April 19.

Earlier public health orders put a stop to high-intensity indoor group sessions such as spin classes, aerobics, bootcamp, hot yoga and high-intensity circuit or interval training, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. A sharp rise in daily cases over the past 10 days prompted to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to expand the list effective March 30, as well as suspend indoor restaurant and pub dining for three weeks.

Youth sports teams, defined as up to age 21, are able to continue with drills and training, with a reduced number of participants. Two adults can play indoor sports or up to 10 can play outdoors under the latest version of the pandemic orders, as long as participants stay three metres apart or are members of the same household.

“What we are talking about is adult fitness classes in gyms, fitness studios, dance studios,” Henry said March 29. “It is not the youth programs that we have in place with very strict restrictions, and I know that’s a challenge for youth as well. They want to go out and play games and have games with others, but we need to continue with just the local team practices right now.”

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With vaccination reaching most of the elderly people at greatest risk from the virus, the focus has shifted to younger people, including grade school and post-secondary students socializing on spring break.

“We had been talking about increasing youth sports, particularly outdoor sports, later in April, and I still think we can do that,” Henry said. “If we pay attention to what we need to do now to allow us to get the immunization program ramped up safely around the province, then we are still on track to be able to do more, particularly outdoor sports later in the spring.”


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