Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

An unlicensed Kelowna martial arts studio has drawn the ire of a national fitness group for its anti-vaccine and anti-mask policies.

Kelowna’s Flow Academy made headlines last week after a notice posted to their website garnered social media attention. The gym listed several uncited claims about COVID-19 vaccines and said it wouldn’t entertain membership applications from people who had received the jab, nor would it allow people to wear masks in its facility.

Currently, only individual and one-on-one fitness is allowed to operate in B.C., with physical distancing and masks mandated. Group exercise as a whole, both low- and high-intensity, is not allowed under current provincial health orders.

“Public health officials want us open; they want us serving our public’s mental and physical health. So, we need to support them back by abiding by the guidelines and restrictions they give us so we can remain open,” said Carl Ulmer, who alongside Sara Hodson co-chairs the B.C. coalition of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC).

The FIC represents more than 6,000 fitness facilities across the country and has been working with public health officials throughout the pandemic to represent the industry’s interests. Hodson said the controversy Flow Academy has conjured shines a negative light on the fitness industry that is not indicative of how most B.C. gyms are operating.

“It’s so disappointing to see that people are risking what we have worked really hard in this province to do — to keep at least a level of fitness open and keep it accessible to British Columbians,” said Hodson.

“I want to stress that it is not a typical situation, what we’re seeing in Kelowna. This is a one-off … The majority of fitness is absolutely complying with the standards put out by the provincial government.”

READ MORE: Kelowna martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

READ MORE: Kelowna MMA gym’s anti-vaccine policy prompts misguided nasty phone calls to yoga studio

The City of Kelowna is currently weighing its options to take action against Flow Academy, as it is currently operating without a business licence — which has earned it two $500 fines from the city. The business recently applied for a licence, but the city denied that request as they’re breaking the law by not adhering to provincial health orders.

“We are considering further enforcement action,” said the city’s risk manager Lance Kayfish. “Now is certainly not the time to be acting out of step with provincial health orders.”

Interior Health (IH) previously issued an order and a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with provincial health orders in February. The health authority is again following up with the academy due to “ongoing concerns and additional complaints.”

The Capital News has reached out to Flow Academy for comment but has not received a response.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusFitness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read