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Defiant West Kelowna gym fined $2,300, issued closure order, but still operating

Defiant gym fined $2,300

RCMP and Interior Health showed up Thursday morning at a gym in West Kelowna that has refused to close its doors in the face of public health orders.

Iron Energy Fitness Centre co-owner Brian Mark says he was alerted by clients that enforcement had arrived.

"We rallied everyone. We turned the music off and got everyone in the gym to come to the front door. We had 20 signs printed out that say mental health matters with the hashtag free B.C. and gyms are essential."

"At the door was Interior Health. They served us with a notice to close and taped it on our window," Mark said.

The notice to close details warning letters issued by Interior Health to the business in response their open defiance of the health order.

Mark live-streamed the incident on Instagram.

On Wednesday, the West Kelowna gym lost its business license after the City pulled its renewal over the gym's fight against closure orders.

During the incident Thursday, Mark says he was handed a $2,300 ticket.

"We are open and members are still working out. We know that we are doing something right and that is why we are standing so strong. The only way that I'm closing this gym down is if they drag me out in cuffs. All of them members are going to get it on tape and Canadians are going to see it. I want that," Mark added.

"I am disputing the ticket. I am going to fight the ticket," Mark said.

Mark says currently there are roughly 25 members still working out at the gym.

Interior Health told Castanet on Wednesday it has been in contact with 15 gyms and issued five warning letters since the latest order came into effect. A group of gyms in Kamloops are also refusing to close.

“Further steps will be taken for gyms who remain open despite initial enforcement actions,” IH spokesperson Karl Hardt in a statement.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order on Dec. 22, forcing the closure of gyms and fitness facilities until Jan. 18, amid a surge in Omicron COVID-19 cases in B.C.

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