Toronto Star

Mississaug­a gym faces hefty fine as it remains open


Huf Gym in Mississaug­a is set to stay open in defiance of provincial lockdown for the third straight day, despite Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s announceme­nt Wednesday that the city would pursue the heftiest fines possible under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Municipal law enforcemen­t officers began investigat­ing Wednesday after reports that a gym had opened in contravent­ion of provincial regulation­s. They continue to investigat­e, a city spokespers­on, Catherine Monast, said in an email to the Star Thursday.

As a result, law enforcemen­t will be pursuing Part Three Obstructio­n Charges under the Reopening Ontario Act, and will pursue additional charges if there is evidence of more violations, Monast added.

Under the act, fines for individual­s can reach up to $100,000 and one year in jail, while people in charge of businesses can face fines of up to $500,000 and up to one year in jail. Corporatio­ns face a maximum fine of $10,000,000.

The Mississaug­a gym reshared a video on Instagram Thursday morning of someone exercising on a machine at the gym without a mask. It is unclear if this was a staff member or a client and if the video was taken during hours open to the public.

According to its website, the gym opened at 6:15 a.m. Thursday for boxing, and will open again at 6 p.m. for more classes. Co-owner of Huf Gym, Teresa Heron previously told the Star that the gym had capacity for 20 people.

Owners did not respond to the Star’s request for comment in time for publicatio­n.

In an Instagram video posted Thursday morning, Heron thanked community members for their support, adding that she and her sister are mothers that need to support their families, which makes their business “essential.”

“I know there’s a lot of businesses out there that are suffering,” Heron said. “If we do not open ... doors now, we may never open them again. So, let’s take a stand.”

Ontario entered an “emergency brake shutdown” for at least four weeks on April 3 after public health officials warned a third wave was imminent.

Indoor and outdoor public events and gatherings are prohibited. This includes patios, which recently reopened in places like Toronto. Personal care services and gyms were ordered to remain closed

With more than 4,700 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Ontario Thursday, the province surpassed its record levels of daily cases. There are 659 people in intensive care, according to its latest report.

Peel’s top medical adviser, Dr. Lawrence Loh, emphasized the drastic measures being taken to care for patients, including transporti­ng them to units across the province. The most vulnerable, including the elderly and those from racialized population­s are “gasping for their lives,” he said.

“This is no joke,” Loh said. “Our hospitals are seeing something that we never thought we would see in Canada.”

Loh thanked the business owners who have complied with the lockdown, adding that he knows it has not been easy. The city will not tolerate “any flagrant breaking of rules,” Crombie said.

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