Yoga during the 2nd Wave of the pandemic

On Monday, December 14, 2020, the Government of British Columbia issued new operational guidelines for fitness classes, including yoga. In-person classes can resume as long as appropriate protocols are in place to reduce the likelihood of spreading the novel coronavirus and the business posts its COVID-19 Safety Plan in a prominent place to make sure clients can see it. The new precautions take effect starting Tuesday, December 15, 2020 and will remain in effect until Dr. Bonnie Henry issues new guidelines and protocols in 2021. Highlights include:

  • Yoga classes will be offered online as a safe alternative to those unable to or uncomfortable with attending in-person classes. No one should attend an in-person yoga class if they feel unwell or have any symptoms of respiratory illness or if they have travelled outside of Canada in the previous two weeks. The guidelines for contact tracing and prohibiting socializing before and after class do not apply to online classes.
  • Yoga students MUST:
    • register online and pay for classes in advance, preferably electronically, for both in-person and online classes. No drop-ins are allowed at in-person yoga classes.
    • complete an online form attesting that they have not travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days, have not been identified by Public Health as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, have not been told to isolate by Public Health, and are not displaying any new or worsening symptoms associated with COVID-19 infections prior to being allowed to attend an in-person class.
    • book an exact arrival time prior to the class that is staggered by FIVE MINUTES from the arrival time of other students.
    • provide their contact information with the date and time of each in-person class they attend.
    • when inside the yoga venue, keep 2 to 2.5 metres distance from other individuals (other students or the yoga teacher) not living in their household or in their “social bubble”.
    • bring and use their own yoga mat and if possible, all other yoga props that they need or like to use (e.g. may include blocks, strap, bolster, pillow, massage ball or tennis ball, chair, wooden dowel). Some props such as firm yoga blocks and wooden dowels can be sanitized and made available for student use as long as the student makes the request in advance so that there is enough time to sanitize the items.
    • use the venue’s hand sanitizer before and after an in-person class. Students may bring their own bottle of hand sanitizer if they prefer.
    • observe strict hygiene habits (wash hands, face, and if possible, feet, prior to the class) and sneeze/cough etiquette when inside the yoga venue.
    • arrive in their yoga clothing and not use the washroom as a change room before and after an in-person class.
    • wear a mask when inside a facility offering yoga classes with the exception of when they are actually doing yoga. A mask must be worn when entering/departing the facility, in the entranceway, hallway, yoga room, and washroom. Masks can only be removed once a student is settled on his/her mat and during the class.
    • must minimize the time spent in the facility where yoga classes are taught. Do not socialize with the yoga teacher or other students before and after class.
    • depart at five-minute intervals after the class or through different exit doors.
  • Yoga business owners MUST:
    • develop and post in a prominent place their business’s revised COVID-19 Safety Plan, the WorkSafe BC Visitor Entry Check poster, and the room capacity for socially distanced in-person classes.
    • thoroughly clean and sanitize all areas used by yoga students before and after classes.
    • ensure that washrooms are cleaned and sanitized before and after classes.
    • provide hand sanitizer at the class venue.
    • ensure the venue has good ventilation and have a window and/or door left partly open during class.
    • facilitate social distanced exercise space and not exceed room capacity.
    • facilitate staggered arrival times and if possible, different entry and exit doors from the facility for clients.
  • Yoga teachers MUST:
    • sanitize any yoga props that will be needed by students before and after class.
    • observe strict hygiene habits (wash hands, face, and if possible, feet, prior to the class) and sneeze/cough etiquette when inside the yoga venue.
    • stay in a designated teacher area and not spend time in the entranceway or hallway with students before and after class.
    • provide only verbal cues and demonstrations from a safe distance of two metres with no hands-on guidance or adjustments.
    • use a microphone to amplify their voice rather than raising their voice and ensure any background music is not louder than their voice.
    • refrain from singing or chanting.

I hope anyone attending in-person classes will help me abide by the new protocols so that yoga classes can continue at the Nature Wise Yoga Home Base. The new guidelines specify that safety inspections will be carried out by the provincial health authorities to ensure compliance and that fines will be levied for non-compliance. Please read the 4th revision to the 2020 COVID-19 Safety Plan for Nature Wise Yoga .

Namaste, Jenny Feick, RYT
Nature Wise Yoga