Éric Bellegarde is the owner of the MPN gym in Vaudreuil-Dorion on boulevard Harwood. He shared with us his impressions and comments on the recent closure of gyms in Quebec, just 10 days after their reopening.
Mr. Bellegarde confides that he was at first surprised by the announcement of the Quebec government on the reopening of gyms at the end of March. Despite everything, he reopened his business to welcome customers. “I had a feeling it wasn’t going to last, says the gym owner. I didn’t bill my clients for their first month, in case my gym had to close again in the next few weeks. It was a good thing, because after 10 days we are back to square one.”
He does not hide his disappointment with the closure, but he is even more disappointed with the government’s attitude towards the gyms. Mr. Bellegarde explains that the training centers employ qualified people who could help the population in a pandemic.
“I would have liked to see the government, through one of its ministers, include the gyms into the discussion on healthy lifestyles, he says. Quebec must find a solution for people to regain health. If we are in good shape, our body has fewer aggravating conditions in case we catch the virus. We must put all the chances on our side.”
Difficulty getting through the storm
The owner of the MPN gym wants to reassure people. He won’t be going out of business anytime soon. He explains that his computer system can easily be shut down and some of his members continue to pay for their membership even though the gym is closed.
“My clientele is extraordinary, exclaims Mr. Bellegarde. People believe in my gym and it is heart-warming.”
He also indicates that grants are difficult to obtain at the provincial level. There are a lot of details that make the process long. Mr. Bellegarde would like to see Quebec do more for merchants.
Continuation of activities virtually
While waiting for the opening of his training center, Eric Bellegarde will continue to do what he does best, helping others stay in shape. With the pandemic, he adapted his work to keep his customers active.
“I have people who rent gym equipment to work out at home, Mr. Bellegarde says. They continue to pay for their subscription which continues to bring money in. These people also participate in my training on Zoom. It keeps morale high and we can move.”
Measures followed to the letter
Eric Bellegarde goes on to talk about sanitary measures at his gym. He gives each person who enters a bottle of disinfectant, in order to disinfect the machines before and after use. The mask is compulsory everywhere in the facility.
Asked about the case of the Quebec City gym, he explains that no one knows the whole story, but that keeping records in similar establishments makes life easier for public health.
“They were keeping records and that’s why we know how many cases are directly related to this gym, he says. The owner may have broken the rules, but that’s not my point. Schools are also a place where we see large outbreaks. This is directly related to record-keeping. Big box stores have it easy, because they don’t keep track of people’s names. Let’s start doing that and we’re going to see outbreaks in those stores.”
However, he respects Quebec’s decision and complies with public health measures.