While most B.C. residents are hunkered down at home, practising social distancing due to COVID-19, a group of individuals in West Kelowna chose not to follow the provincial health officer’s warnings and that’s caused some scathing criticism.
Two weeks ago, Iron Athletics, a clothing company, had plans to showcase Canadian bodybuilders and how they train for the big stage. Iron Athletic’s owner Kyle, who would not give his last name, recruited five bodybuilders – three from Saskatchewan and the others from Toronto, Alberta and Kelowna – to fly to the Okanagan and move into a house with other bodybuilders to film a reality TV show.
As days went on, government health guidelines tightened due to COVID-19, but rather than rescheduling the show, Kyle went ahead anyway.
“People are threatening the group, and are telling us to kill ourselves,” said Kyle.
The ugly comments didn’t stop there. On April 9, Iron Athletics filmed a live video of a workout routine. In the comment section, an endless thread of outrage and insults flooded the feed.
Due to the severe backlash, Kyle says he’s taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of his team, the community and to ease the minds of those who are concerned. He had initially planned to do activities in the community but decided it was best to have his team voluntarily self-isolate for the next 14 days.
“We are all in quarantine (at the house) now.”
“We have grocery delivery now and getting our supplements delivered. We have a nurse coming to do checks. No one’s travelling out to see anybody.”
Kyle also regrets some questionable conduct when the group first arrived. According to Kyle, the group stopped at supplements store on the way back from the airport and one of the girls in the group commented on a live video stating, “f**k corona, got to Kelowna,” which was poorly received.
“We do apologize for some of the mistakes we did make,” Kyle stated.
West Kelowna bylaw investigated the situation and referred the matter to Interior Health. Joanne Kleb, the city’s communications manager, said Interior Health determined the occupants are not in violation of any orders of the provincial health officer that are enforceable by the city’s bylaw department.
Interior Health, along with the provincial health officer and health minister, has advised against any travel at this time and continue to encourage people to maintain physical distancing at all times.
“We appreciate that the people in this household have agreed to self-isolate for 14 days since their arrival from outside B.C.,” said Karl Hardt, senior communications consultant with Interior Health.
“At this time, we have not identified a broader public health issue and we will continue to monitor this situation.”
Iron Athletics will now be transitioning its content to home workouts and nutrition, set to debut on its YouTube channel on April 18.