In June, Xtreme Cheer and Dance in Langley resumed in-studio practices, behind carefully defined boundaries. Just as they were allowed some contact for ‘stunts’ the restrictions were tightened as part of a battle against rising COVID-19 rates (file)

In June, Xtreme Cheer and Dance in Langley resumed in-studio practices, behind carefully defined boundaries. Just as they were allowed some contact for ‘stunts’ the restrictions were tightened as part of a battle against rising COVID-19 rates (file)

Why cheer practices are allowed, but dance is not, under tightened COVID rules

Online petition launched to have dance classes allowed in Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver

Cheer practices yes. Dance classes, no.

What is allowed under a temporary tightening of COVID-19 precautions in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal health regions appears to depend on what is, and is not, an officially recognized sport in B.C.

Callers to Lisa’s School of Dance in Langley are hearing a message that the studio has been closed down for two weeks due to just-announced new restrictions and video classes will start on Nov. 16.

Owner Lisa Dew said the shutdown has been “absolutely devastating to my business.”

“The mental and physical well-being of my students are also being jeopardized.”

”It doesn’t make sense to me that gymnastics and cheer classes can still run but yoga, dance and other indoor activities that are following strict protocols are being made to close,” Dew told the Langley Advance Times.

She said the school has gone above and beyond to adhere to all requirements, “keeping our students completely socially distanced, wearing masks, sanitizing, the list goes on.”

“We’re dancing in six-by-six squares.”

On the school Facebook page, visitors are encouraged to sign an online petition to have dance schools allowed to operate.

“I did sign the petition regarding this being an unjust closure,” Dew said.

“It doesn’t make sense to me.”

As of Tuesday, Nov. 10, close to 6,000 people have signed a Change.Org petition to “Reopen Dance Schools in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health” that asks for the words words ‘dance classes’ to be removed from the provincial health order.

“Although dance is not a sport, it is a physical activity that we, as owners, have managed to provide safely while maintaining social distancing since June 1st,” organizer Denise Akester said.

“It is unfair for us to be targeted. We have suffered from March onwards as we have navigated COVID protocols with no overseeing sports or arts organization, with decreased participation due to reluctant parents and little rent relief as it was left optional for our landlords.”

“To ask us to close again, even for two weeks, while schools and other child-centric activities stay open is unreasonable, unfair, and unwarranted.”

Lisa Bosch, owner of Xtreme Cheer and Dance in Langley, has been required to cancel dance practices at her facility – while cheer workouts continue.

“We are horribly confused by the fact that our cheer gym can stay open, but the same kids can’t take their dance class,” Bosch told the Langley Advance Times.

Bosch sent a letter to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that lists the precautions Xtreme has been taking, which range from separate entrances, with health checks at every entrance.

Bosch stressed that she wasn’t angry at Dr. Henry, but wanted her to know that her business is making every effort.

Staff are tested with a non-contact thermometer, there are multiple containers of sanitizer, and studio designated bathrooms to cut down cross-contamination.

“They are cleaned repeatedly,” Bosch noted.

“All athletes (Dancers are athletes!) wear masks for every class,” she added.

Xtreme has taped off spaces on every floor to maintain social distancing.

“We clean everything including the floors/mats between every class with a hospital grade cleaner,” Bosch elaborated.

“This cleaner alone costs us $800 a month.”

“What more can we do?” Bosch asked.

READ ALSO: Langley cheer clubs resume in-studio practices, at a distance

For Langley Cheer and Athletics Gym, which doesn’t conduct dance classes, the tightening of restrictions has meant a return to the initial weeks under COVID-19 rules, when classes were allowed, but athletes had to maintain safe distancing.

It was disappointing for the kids, owner Leanna Fisher said, because they had finally been able to “stunt” again, getting close enough to form human pyramids.

“They still had to wear masks,” Fisher noted.

“We were in the last stage [of restrictions] now we have to go back to first stage.”

Fisher said the difference between cheer and dance is that one is a recognized sport “like minor hockey” and the other isn’t.

“We are actually allowed to remain open, as we are mandated under viaSport [the provincial agency that coordinates amateur sports] and BC cheerleading association,” Fisher elaborated.

“It’s very confusing.”

Because dance is not considered a sport, and doesn’t have an sports-like association to speak for it, it doesn’t get the same consideration, Fisher explained.

“I feel awful for them [dance studios], Fisher commented.

Langley Cheer and Athletics Gym did have to cancel its Parkour course due to the tightened rules, Fisher added.

Group indoor fitness such as dance, yoga and spin classes in in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal health regions have been suspended until Nov. 23, a temporary two-week tightening of safety measures that could be extended depending on the COVID-19 transmission evidence.

It was announced on Saturday, Nov. 7, after after the B.C. Centre for Disease Control announced 567 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, with most of the new cases in the two regions.

As well, new restrictions do not allow the “safe six” group of friends to visit private homes, except for people who live alone and have one or two people they regularly spend time with, equivalent to household members.

RELATED: What new restrictions mean for Lower Mainland

It comes after the Fraser Health Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack

To date, 26 individuals at the dance academy have tested positive for COVID-19.

Capella Dance Academy voluntarily closed on Oct. 28, 2020.

READ MORE: COVID-19 ‘superspreader’ event at Chilliwack dance academy now up to 36 cases

People are being reminded by health authorities to do their part to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the community by staying home when they are sick, practicing physical distancing, washing their hands frequently, and keeping their social circle small and consistent.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusDanceLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack survey asks for feedback on planned Rosedale skate park

The new structure will occupy a 3,000 square foot space in the middle of Rosedale Park

File
Agassiz Speedway hosts food drive for AHCS

Food, toys, cash and more accepted at Super Valu in Agassiz, Nov. 28

(Left to right) Brandon Kloot, board member with John Kampman, board chair, and Matt Van Muyen, System Principal at Unity Christian School pose with the sold sign on a 8.1 acre property the school has purchased to plan for future growth, November, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Land purchase by Unity Christian will help with future growth

New acquisition ‘promises to be a blessing for the long-term future of our school’ says board chair

File
Exterior Christmas decorators wanted Agassiz Seniors Community

Call to action to brighten the upcoming holiday season for isolated seniors

Santa Claus makes his way through the Cottonwood Centre shopping mall during his big arrival in 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Santa’s Cottonwood Centre visits in Chilliwack cancelled by COVID

Provincial health orders mean Santa won’t be able to visit children, even with physical distancing

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Abbotsford mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby comes home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

Most Read