A Kelowna gym that imposed anti-vaccine and anti-mask policies has been ordered to close by local health officials for breaking COVID-19 health orders.
Flow Academy, a local martial arts studio, garnered media attention for its policy to refuse membership applications from people who received a COVID-19 vaccination and ban people who wear masks.
After an investigation, Interior Health (IH) ordered the gym and its owner Tonya Aguiar to cease its operations on Tuesday, April 20. That night, health officers, Mounties and city bylaw officers went to the gym with a search warrant but the operator denied them access.
“We issued a closure notice at that time based on ongoing non-compliance with public health orders and failure to comply with a court-issued warrant for inspection,” stated Interior Health in an email to the Capital News.
City of Kelowna risk manager Lance Kayfish said the city has issued the gym six fines, amounting to $3,000, for operating without a business licence. He said Flow Academy applied for a business licence in March, but the city denied its request as they were not complying with provincial health orders.
Since the order was imposed, the gym has updated its website with a donation campaign to “support the basic needs of the business and owners such as monthly bills.” It claims none of the donations will be put towards paying fines or lawyer fees.
Currently, it is unclear whether the facility is complying with the health order. Interior Health and the city are exploring additional enforcement actions.
Flow Academy has not responded to multiple interview requests from the Capital News.
This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. to include comment from Interior Health.
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