FIC Q&A: COVID-19

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) has created a coalition of over 30 fitness industry leaders from across Canada to assist in answering your questions. We have representatives from big box gyms, group ex/studios/boutiques, private training, education, and technology. Our goal is to be able to provide helpful information to all our various sectors and members.

Here are our current top 10 questions:

1)  How long should gyms expect to stay closed?

·  Gyms in Asia were closed for around 50 days; however, in Canada, although many facilities have planned for a two-week closure, it is important to be prepared for around 60 days.

2) What are gyms doing to manage member retention?

· Connecting with members virtually through online workouts and social media.

· Membership freezes/suspensions or billing freezes.

· Member loyalty plans (i.e.: If membership is kept during this time, they will be honoured as a “platinum” member and will receive additional perks such as extra credit when the facility is reopened.

3) Are contractors eligible for EI?

· https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/independent-workers.html

· There are different support systems offered in different provinces and territories, be sure to check what is available in your area.

4)  What if you find out one of your members tested positive for COVID-19?

· Close the gym immediately (if the gym is open) and notify your Provincial Health Authority.

5)  Should FIC lobby for rent freezes, interest/principle freezes, and utility rate capping?

·  On behalf of the fitness industry, FIC is working on a plea to the government for assistance with rent relief.

·  The government is getting organized with their assistance to businesses. Once we have a solid idea of business assistance from the federal government, we can decide to push lobbying efforts on what is still needed for our industry.

6)  What is the Business Development Bank of Canada doing to support businesses?

· https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/special-support.aspx?special-initiative=covid19

7)  If using virtual classes, can I use music?

· If you are using private platforms and your music is licenced, you may use music as you would in face-to-face classes.

· If you are using social media for online classes, you should stay away from the use of music.

– If in need of music during online classes, some music providers are providing the use of music from their repertoire for free during this time (such as the Yes!GO app for live streaming).

8)  It is unclear what the rules are for rent issues/freezes in my province/territory. Who should I talk to?

· If rent support is unclear and your landlord is not as forgiving during this time, email/call your provincial/territorial representative in your region. They will be able to bring the issues to the forefront in your region.

9)  What about my employees during this time? Do I let them go or keep them on even when we are closed?

· You may consider temporary layoffs at this time so that employees are eligible for EI or other support benefits.

· Some clubs are continuing to pay their employees for one more pay period (or two weeks) for financial support.

· Some clubs are “paying in advance” while keeping employees on while bridging a loan for contractors and employees.

10)  I have a retail property; how can I handle the costs?

· Many banks are working with landlords that have commercial retail properties with plans that go interest-only for a certain period; check to see if that is an option at your bank.

· It is important that each facility check with their own insurance companies to see what the current options are for business support.

· Make sure to review the current support offered by the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Please send us your questions and concerns through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BTNMQQ8