From yoga to dance to physiotherapy, many of the movers and shakers of Salmon Arm have made the difficult decision to suspend operations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the provincial government banning gatherings of 50 or more people, the City of Salmon Arm closing several public and city-owned facilities and public health officials strongly recommending social distancing and self-quarantining, the effect on local business has been major.
“It was a difficult decision for us,” said Jim Nickels, manager of Shuswap Total Fitness in Salmon Arm. “We decided to follow the city.”
He was referring to the closing of the SASCU Recreation Centre, Shaw Centre, Little Mountain Fieldhouse, SASCU Indoor Memorial Sports Complex, city hall, the public works complex and fire halls.
Shuswap Total Fitness closed its doors on Thursday, March 19.
Other businesses are still holding on. Despite small class sizes, Namaste Yoga and Wellness Centre in downtown Salmon Arm is continuing classes.
According to Nancy Whitticase, owner of Namaste Yoga, fewer people participating in the class means participants are able to maintain a two-metre distance between each other as recommended by health authorities.
“Especially during these times people need a practice in order to get the stress of life off of them,” said Whitticase.
The studio is offering meditation streaming so people can tune in and follow along online.
The Shuswap Dance Center is off regular classes due to spring break but rehearsals scheduled during the break have been cancelled.
“We’re waiting it out to see what happens in the next few weeks,” said Carolyn Wonacott, owner of Shuswap Dance. “You want to be preemptive but you don’t want to panic on the other hand either.”
Kim Scranton, owner of Live Well Physiotherapy, is preparing to close her clinic as it is recommended that all in-person care be suspended. Scranton, whose family is self isolating with her immunocompromised daughter, hopes her clients will stay active and use the ‘telerehabilitation’ software on her clinic’s website.
“Our ultimate goal is to give people the tools to be independent with their condition or injury so this is an opportunity for us to do that,” Scranton said.
Also expecting to close shop is Active Chiropractic, owned by Dr. Daphne Brown.
“I’m going frantic right now cancelling everything,” Brown said. “I have to cancel appointments and try to minimize my overhead.”
Brown went on to say she expects she will have to lay off some of her staff.
Carolyn Jones, clinical director and general practitioner at Bastion Medical Centre, says the centre is opening up virtual appointment availability to patients not registered at the clinic.
This availability means patients who wish to stay home or are self quarantining can receive care via video call or over the phone.
“This will be for the short term to support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jones wrote in an email to the Observer. “We are hoping to be able to help patients across the community to enable them to stay at home and receive care from local doctors.”
Patients can access these virtual and telephone appointments online through bastionmedical.com.