The City of Delta suspended the business licence of Bikram Yoga Delta on Thursday, March 19 after the owner refused to cancel classes for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. (James Smith photo)

B.C. city suspends business licence of studio claiming hot yoga kills COVID-19

City pulled Bikram Yoga Delta’s licence after owner refused to cancel classes amid coronavirus outbreak

A North Delta yoga studio has had its business licence suspended after the city received complaints the business wasn’t taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

The City of Delta’s bylaw enforcement department received numerous complaints after an email from Bikram Yoga Delta to its clients claiming the novel coronavirus “cannot survive in the heat” in the studio made the rounds on social media, sparking outrage among many North Delta residents.

The email opened by thanking everyone who was still attending classes at the studio — where people perform a series of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises over 90 minutes in a room heated to 40 C — before making a series of claims about the benefits of continuing to practice hot yoga during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fact — This supposed virus cannot survive in the heat,” the email reads, before going on to say that “Bikram Hot Yoga is the best way to keep your immune system healthy and/or best way to build and improve your immune system to fight flu’s (sic), colds, bacteria and viruses.”

The email goes on to say the “drastic slowdown in attendance by everyone being paralized (sic) into a fear state of mind” means the studio will be reducing classes “until the worldwide non-sense subsides.”

On Thursday, March 19, the City of Delta declared a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The move enable Mayor George Harvie to enact powers necessary to enforce the Provincial Health Officer’s verbal order to limit public gatherings and practice social distancing.

In a press release, the city said it would be taking immediate actions against any businesses that refuse to abide by the Provincial Health Officer’s directions, including closing the business and suspending its business licence.

“These are challenging times for residents and businesses in our community. By declaring a local state of emergency, we have additional abilities to protect the community. I have asked our bylaws department to enforce closures on some businesses that are not following the direction of our Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry,” Harvie said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“I continue to work with all of council, staff, and senior government officials to protect this community from the impact of COVID-19.”

READ MORE: Delta declares local state of emergency amid COVID-19 outbreak (March 19, 2020)

That same afternoon, Delta bylaw inspectors following up on the public’s complaints visited Bikram Yoga Delta, finding a class in progress.

“The owner indicated he was planning to hold another class later in the day and was not prepared to voluntarily comply with a request to cancel classes in light of the state of emergency related to the spread of a potentially deadly virus,” Hugh Davies, manager of property use and compliance with the City of Delta, said in an email.

“Mayor Harvie, acting in the interest of the community and under the authority of the emergency provincial program, directed bylaw inspectors to revisit the business and suspend the current Delta business licence. The business licence was subsequently suspended and the owner was provided with written notice.

“The owner did co-operate and comply with the suspension, and the evening class was cancelled.”

Asked about the email’s claims during her daily press briefing on Thursday, March 19, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry debunked the notion that the heat in the studio will kill the virus.

“Yoga studios are a place where people are sweating in close next to each other — at least the ones I go to — and that is a perfect environment to spread this virus if somebody is shedding this virus,” she said.

Henry said the claim probably stems from a misinterpretation of the science around the relationship some viruses have with the environment.

“Respiratory viruses like influenza, like some of the other coronaviruses that we’ve seen, tend to fade away when it gets warmer and we have increased amounts of ultraviolet light during the spring and summer time. So we don’t see influenza, it just disappears, as it were, around this time of year,” she said. “And that’s one of the things we’ve really been pushing is we need to save our system until at least influenza goes away, and if we’re lucky this coronavirus may fade as well, it may wane away in the coming weeks.

“We know that some other respiratory viruses do that and they’re sensitive to the heat in our environment and to ultraviolet light. But that’s not in a room or in an enclosed environment.”

Henry said UV light does work to eliminate some bacteria and viruses in health care settings, “but it’s very intense UV light for many hours, so that’s not an option.”

RELATED: B.C. records new COVID-19 death as number of cases rises to 271 (March 19, 2020)

SEE ALSO: COVID-19 precautions ‘not optional,’ B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry warns (March 20, 2020)



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusDelta

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

Just Posted

Marlene King and her granddaughter KK with the bench she installed in memory of her late husband, artist Marven Tallio (Caitlin Thompson photo).
New downtown bench honours late Nuxalk artist

Renowned Nuxalk artist Marven Tallio passed away in 2018

BC Liberal Party candidate for the North Coast Roy Jones Jr. will hold virtual face-to-face meetings for North Coast communities on Oct. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
BC Liberal Candidate Roy Jones Jr, will meet constituents virtually

Face to face conversations will be held on Oct. 18 for North Coast communities

The rockslide occurred just east of Firvale before Snowshoe Creek (photo submitted)
Heavy rain causes mud, debris on Highway 20

Environment Canada had issued a rainfall warning on Thursday morning

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read