GoodLife Fitness’ decision not to require proof of vaccination from its employees and members has sparked heated debate on the internet.
The nationwide gym chain that finally opened its doors on Friday as part of step 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan has been under attack since Monday. At that point, his Twitter account was posting the company’s vaccination policy.
“At this point in time, we do not plan to require employees or members to be vaccinated to enter our locations. For privacy reasons, ”the company tweeted in response to a question.
“GoodLife will not disclose any information about the vaccination status of any individual employee.”
Hey there! We currently do not plan to require employees or members to be vaccinated to enter our locations. In order to protect privacy, GoodLife does not disclose any information about the vaccination status of any individual employee.
– @ GoodLifeFitness
The tweet sparked an uproar as some members threatened to terminate their membership while others said refusing to serve due to vaccine status would be unfair.
In a statement to CBC News, GoodLife President Jane Riddell said the company encourages everyone to get vaccinated, but as a private company, getting vaccination “isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“Especially for a national company like ours, which spans all provinces, there are significant legal and privacy concerns,” she wrote.
Riddell added that vaccination records would require instruction from government or health officials.
“We call on Premier Ford, the provincial and federal governments to provide clear direction, leadership and support to businesses as we navigate this challenging time,” the statement said.
GoodLife members respond to guidelines
As the debate over vaccine passports continues online, CBC News has asked its readers for their views on GoodLife’s policies.
Brad Smith, a GoodLife member for three years, said he would cancel his membership if the policy is not reversed.
Smith said indoor fitness environments and unvaccinated employees or customers increase the likelihood of contracting COVID-19, a risk he does not want to take.
“I’ve managed risk throughout my career. If you can minimize risk, you should,” he said.
He added that the provincial government should step in and “show leadership” to require indoor spaces such as gyms to be vaccinated.
Several other people agreed, telling CBC News that they were planning to cancel their membership or knew people who had already done so.
Other commentators said it would be difficult or unfair for GoodLife to enforce evidence of vaccination.
Nick Doelman, a Goodlife member since 2011, said although he is vaccinated and believes in the vaccine, he is not worried about GoodLife’s policies.
“There will always be some people who don’t want to be vaccinated. It’s their choice and they won’t convince them,” he said.
“We have to learn to live with Covid and manage risks appropriately, like everything else in life.”
Another GoodLife customer, Klayton Labate, said that proof of vaccination is mandatory and is fueling further suspicions about vaccines. He said asking people to reveal their vaccination status was an obstacle for people with disabilities.
“There are people who cannot take vaccines for medical reasons, so when those people are forced to disclose this medical information against their will, it is an obstacle to service,” he said.
Ongoing debate about vaccination records
GoodLife’s political decision is part of a larger vaccine passport debate that is rocking the province as COVID-19 restrictions continue to be relaxed.
The idea of a vaccine passport was shot down by Prime Minister Doug Ford, who told reporters at a press conference Thursday that he did not want to create a “divided society”.
Meanwhile, Toronto Board of Trade President Jan De Silva urged the provincial government to put in place a vaccine passport system for non-essential businesses while speaking on CBC’s Metro Morning this week.
“We want to give our companies every chance to reopen safely, stay open safely and avoid future lockdowns,” she said.
By Friday, nearly 80 percent of Ontarians had their first vaccination against COVID-19 and 60 percent were fully vaccinated.
Riddell said GoodLife will continue to ask the government for further guidance, but for now, GoodLife will allow members to freeze their memberships if COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines evolve.