B.C. courts ruled in favour of the Interior Health Authority (IHA) and granted an injunction to restrain anyone from operating Iron Energy Fitness Center in West Kelowna.
On Feb. 18, Chief Justice Hinkson reviewed a civil claim filed against Iron Energy Fitness Center in the Supreme Court of B.C.
Terry McCaffrey, counsel for the gym, requested a suspension of the application, alleging that his clients were not served with the application material in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules. The judge declined the request.
The plaintiffs, IHA and environmental health officer Christopher Russell, alleged that the defendants, Iron Energy Fitness Center, located in West Kelowna, were operating in defiance of a closure order, Public Health Orders and the Public Health Act.
The entire province, including Iron Energy, was subject to restrictions on indoor gatherings, mandated masks and vaccination passports, to reduce the public health risk from COVID-19.
The gym, operated by Brian Mark, Kristen Mark, Cole Dasilva, Morgan de la Ronde, Brett Godin, Amy Webster and Brian Ralph, failed to comply with these orders, including by refusing to require proof of vaccination upon entry to the gym, as well as permitting customers and employees to be inside the gym without physical distancing or wearing face coverings.
The gym’s manager stated that the fitness centre is “pro‑choice” and does not believe in forcing its members to disclose vaccination status or wear face coverings.
On Feb.3, as a result of the gym’s ongoing non‑compliance with the public health orders, Russell issued a compliance order on behalf of IHA. The closure order was posted on Iron Energy’s door.
Judge Hinkson stated that the owners of the gym were aware of the closure order and “took no steps to challenge or set aside the order, opting instead to continue their operations as before the closure order in breach of that order.”
The judge stated that it is not a court’s role to second guess the decisions of public health officials concerning what activities constitute a risk to the people of British Columbia.
He ruled that Iron Energy has breached the closure order by failing to close its facility.
Judge Hinkson granted the plaintiffs’ application for an injunction from operating Iron Energy or otherwise not complying with the closure order for six months from the date of judgement (Feb. 18), or so long as the closure order is in effect, whichever comes first.
The judge ruled that the plaintiffs will have the liberty to apply to extend the term of the order if they choose to do so and the plaintiffs are entitled to have their legal fees for the trial paid by Iron Energy.