Gym uses online workouts to help struggling Nova Scotia businesses
Evolve Fitness is asking clients for $5 donations to buy gift cards from other local businesses
Many gyms and yoga studios in Nova Scotia that have shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic are offering online workouts for their clients.
But at least one gym, Evolve Fitness, is going a step further and using their online workouts to help out other businesses that are hurting. It's asking clients for a minimum donation of $5 to go toward buying gift cards from other local businesses.
"There are so many businesses that are closed down right now that could use the help, so we're going to try and reach as many people as we can," said Mitch Benvie, co-owner of Evolve Fitness, which has locations in Halifax and Bedford.
Hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments and gyms were forced to shut down on Thursday. The provincial measure was made to curb the spread of COVID-19. More than a dozen presumed and confirmed cases have been announced in Nova Scotia.
Benvie said some clients have donated as much as $500. As of Thursday, Evolve had raised around $18,000. Benvie said he's hoping to raise $50,000.
"It's incredible, very heartwarming to see the support that's come in," he said.
Evolve Fitness conducts live virtual classes a day through the video conferencing app, Zoom.
Benvie said exercise can help in stressful times.
"This isn't a sit at home on the couch for the weekend, storm chips kind of a weekend — this could be a long time. Staying in shape is incredibly important for so many health reasons," Benvie said.
"Anxiety and stress are two big things a lot of people are going through right now, us included, so we wanted to make sure people at home are accountable to the workouts."
The virtual workouts have been going over well with clients, Benvie said.
Sixty-five people were taking a live class when Benvie was interviewed by CBC News on Thursday. Benvie said hundreds of people have joined into the workouts.
"The live aspect really keeps people engaged, makes it feel like we're right there in your living room," he said.
With files from Colleen Jones