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Support our Petition to Allow Us to Wear Masks for Indoor Physical Activities During COVID-19 and Other Pandemics!

Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing during COVID-19 Stage 3

SIGN THE PETITION

Click the link below to go to our online petition. When we have the numbers, we will be able to lobby the government to make the change.

http://chng.it/bhfJf5VLJc

THE MAIN PROBLEM

We all suffer when we cannot do the fitness activities we want to do, whether it be martial arts, a sport, yoga, qigong, or dance. Maintaining physical exercise daily is the fundamental requirement for a healthy foundation. You take that away and suddenly we begin to develop mental stress. Months later, physical problems begin to develop – back pain, hip pain, knee pain, etc.  Without regular exercise, your body cannot maintain its muscles, joints, and bone density.

Many fitness centres and gyms are forced to close during COVID-19. As each wave settles, they can reopen, but then the next wave comes and they have to close again. What’s even more problematic is that different levels of government will have their own rules. For example, in the colour-tiered system in Ontario, municipalities in the ‘Red Zone’ can have fitness classes running, but in Toronto it can be overriden by the Health Minister. Furthermore, each municipal can have its own rules of that Red Zone means.

Here is an article on November 30, 2020 by CityNews that attempts to clarify things: https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/11/13/covid-19-confusion-breaking-down-ontarios-colour-coded-framework-by-region/

Some places can have fitness classes while in the Red Zone, and some cannot. People do not even have to wear masks while training or doing dance. Many martial arts gyms during stage 3 did not require masks as well.

Many of us rely on fitness centres in order to keep ourselves disciplined and honest in our workout routine. We need them to stay open but in a responsible way. That’s what this petition hopes to achieve.

THE SOLUTION

The solution is quite simple actually. Allow fitness centres and group classes to continue as long as EVERYONE wears a mask – no exception. Reception staff, students and participants, teachers, etc. 

A basic face mask will protect others. After many months and experience with COVID-19, this protective measure has proven to be the most effective. Social distancing helps but there are times when it’s not possible, so we cannot rely on that alone. 

A mask designed for fitnesss will also protect you. If the air you inhale and exale goes through a filter, then you are also protected. 

If someone in the facility cannot wear a mask due to a health reason, that person would not be allowed to enter the premises or participate.

We understand that wearing a mask isn’t convenient or comfortable. Some people also say that wearing a mask while doing fitness activity makes it too difficult to breathe.

On the other hand, we’ve demonstrated that our students can handle wearing a face mask while doing vigorous martial arts. It takes time for everyone to adapt but ultimately we can still enjoy the activities we do.

We’re happy to share what we’ve learned as well during the brief time we were running classes in Stage 3:

– Ensure the mask is designed for heavy breathing – the mask needs to have a bridge around the nose and mouth so that the mask doesn’t block the air passage when breathing in vigorously; this makes it easy to breathe. Surgical masks cannot be used for physical activiti as they block the air passage ways when breathing in quickly.

– Ensure the mask has a replaceable filter – this makes it affordable to replace the filter regularly

– Ensure the mask is designed so that the inhale and exhale goes through the filter – some masks have vents that open so that a quick exhale can be released. When that happens, it bypasses the filter which means the exhaled air is released into the environment. At the very least, the vents forces the exhale to go downwards. We use such a mask BUT we block the vents by placing a coin in each one. There does not seem to be any noticeable impact on our breathing capability. You can also find masks without any vents. The problem with the surgical masks is that excess exhaling escapes around the edges.

– Ensure the mask has a neck strap. Many mask designs have ear loops, which means the mask is not pressed into the face. This allows for air to enter and exit around the edges.

– Modify the classes to allow for more time to recover. It’s harder to breathe so students will need 2-3 weeks to adapt.

– Modify the activities so that they are done with social distancing. Do not allow sparring activities where the masks have a chance of coming off (such as wrestling and grappling).

– If someone needs to take a drink, he or she can lift the mask from the bottom to drink. If that is too difficult or someone needs a timeout, allow them to find a corner with at least double the social distancing requirements to temporarily take off the mask (under 1 minute). 

– All equipment used is cleaned immediately after use

– We use a natural disinfectant on our equipment and training surfaces such as Thymox (it uses a low concentration of thyme oil and is listed on the Canadian Government website as proven effective in destroying COVID-19). We feel many other disinfectants and cleaning solutions are too harsh and will damage equipment.

PETITION SUMMARY

Our health matters and consistent physical activity is necessary even during times of a pandemic. We need to have a country-wide mask policy in place during times of a pandemic. This allows fitness centres to continue operating without risk of spreading any disease and it also means that fitness centres do not have to declare bankruptcy. It lessens the economic burden in our country. 

This must be enforced at the federal level but local municipalities have the power to make that change immediately. With your support, we can all be back to our regular fitness routine soon. Please join us in the petition and help spread the word to get more support and to get you back to class!

Thank you!