Jim’s Gym in Parksville has decided to close its doors for good after more than a decade in operation.
Despite the latest provincial health directive to allow gyms to re-open as of Jan. 20, after they been ordered to shut down on Dec. 22 due to high case numbers of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Jim’s Gym owners Jim and Kit Miller made the choice to move on from the business.
“It is with great sadness that we have made this very difficult decision,” the couple stated on their website. “We have made so many wonderful friendships over the 12-and-a-half years we have operated our business in Parksville. However, over the past two years we have lost a substantial sum of money and, with the current scenario remaining so uncertain, we have decided to cut our losses and close up shop. Should circumstances change we will consider re-establishing our business in a new location in the (Parksville Qualicum Beach) area.”
Those who have know Jim and Kit over the years have expressed sincere sadness to see the business close down. Among them is the owner of Namaskar Yoga Studio owner Shelly D’Amico.
“I am devastated for Jim and Kit,” said D’Amico. “They have been around forever and I am so, so sad to hear that they’ve called it quits.”
Powerlifter Billy Buhler says it’s a big loss to the community.
“My parents used to go to that gym when it was Fitness Connection,” said Buhler. “That gym has been here for a long time. I used to train there as well.”
The closing of gyms, dance and yoga studios last month received heavy criticism from owners and members throughout the province, including those from Parksville Qualicum Beach. The consensus was provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order to shut down gyms was “unfair” since grocery stores, malls and restaurants were allowed to stay open.
“It was a difficult decision to close gyms and fitness centres before the holidays, but it gave us time to assess the situation,” Henry said at a press briefing Jan. 18.
D’Amico is happy to re-open her her yoga studio on Jan. 20 but she says the closures are difficult for small businesses.
“The damage has already been done and it will take a long time to come out of this,” said D’Amico. “Having to close for a month at a critical time of the year my business in particular, I will feel it for months to come. It affects not only me but also my employees. It ultimately affects how well we can serve customers.”
The latest provincial order requires indoor fitness facilities to provide a minimum 2.5-metre-by-2.5-metre space, and will not be allowed the use of fans or heaters. Participants will have to wear masks unless they are actually working out, and even there Henry said they are recommended if possible.
D’Amico said re-opening is a challenge each time.
“People have the impression that I just open the door but there’s all kinds of things that I have to take care of behind the scenes,” said D’Amico. “Our capacty will be less than what it was but it’s better to have some people in the studio. I am grateful that we can re-open and the the closure has not been extended for another month or two.”