Kelowna martial arts academy shuttered for not following public health orders | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna martial arts academy shuttered for not following public health orders

FILE PHOTO - Flow Academy, a martial arts studio on Sutherland Avenue.

A Kelowna martial arts studio that refuses to follow public health orders and has operated without a business licence has now been locked out by authorities.

Today, May 5, Interior Health environmental health officers and bylaw officers changed all the locks on the studio as the owner continues to defy public health orders, said Lance Kayfish, risk manager with the City of Kelowna.

“Interior Health has observed contraventions to the provincial events and gatherings and the IH closure orders. As part of our ongoing investigation and enforcement measures, the locks were changed today to prevent further access to the business. These actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted,” according to an email from Interior Health.

READ MORE: Kelowna martial arts studio ordered to close; considered 'public health risk'

Flow Academy has already been ordered to close after it continued to hold indoor group exercises. According to the health authority's order addressed to the owner of Flow Academy and Tonya Aguiar, health officers and RCMP officers were denied entry to the building on Sutherland Avenue after repeated visits.

Aguiar was also issued a ticket for interfering with a person exercising a power under the Public Health Act, Feb. 25, after physically preventing a health officer from entering the building.

The latest variance of a closure order was issued April 20 after an Interior Health officials, bylaw and RCMP officers were prevented from entering the studio when they attempted to execute a search warrant.

Indoor group exercises are currently banned in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The City has now issued eight tickets to the studio for operating without a business licence, totalling $4,000 in fines, Kayfish said. The studio applied for a business licence in March but was rejected as it was not in line with Interior Health pandemic procedures.

Flow Academy has also previously posted on its website that it would not give memberships to those who have had COVID-19 vaccinations and set up a donation campaign, stating the studio is a “private and independent business as protected by the Constitution Acts 1867-1982,” and that donations would not go towards paying any legal fees or fines.

The studio posted as of April 24, it has received $449 in donations.

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