COVID defiant gym stays open as Mississauga appears powerless

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Handing out summonses appear to be the only strategy of Mississauga’s bylaw enforcement team as HUF Gym remains open without fear of being closed down for breaking COVID rules.

Owners of the Dundas St. E. boxing club believe they are within their legal rights to keep the place operating despite a province-wide emergency brake shutdown imposed on gyms and other businesses where indoor gatherings are supposed to be banned.

Everything is good here, we plan to keep going,” co-owner Jonathan Heron said Tuesday night.

While the defiant gym operators believe that right is on their side and a healthy body and mind will help fight off the affects of the coronavirus, they also say the law is in their favour. They may be right.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says bylaw officers continue to issues fines to the long-time establishment, but she admits the City can’t do much more.

The court will assign the penalty, they do risk a $500,000 fine,” she said. “They are not shuttered, they do continue to open, and every time they do we go over and continue to fine them. We have no ability to chain or bolt their door. But they will be fined and I assume they will be dealt with in the courts.”

Although both local and provincial guidelines are in place that could affect the opening of businesses during the pandemic, the degree in which municipalities are allowed to enforce are vague and have yet to be tested in court.

When asked if any of these guidelines can be used to shutdown HUF Gym, Mayor Crombie had a blunt response: “How do you do that physically?”

Still, that didn’t prevent the City of Toronto from going in and closing down an Etobicoke restaurant that remained open after repeated warnings. In November the owner of Adamson Barbecue was arrested and his building seized for defying the COVID lockdown rules.

In the meantime, the doors of HUF Gym remain open for clients eager for a workout. According to Heron, the gym hasn’t abandoned safety protocols and they limit and screen patrons as well as keep the facility clean.

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