The COVID crisis was the last straw for Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Clubs. All employees received an email from the company on Tuesday that the company was shutting down its 24 locaitions and everyone was being terminated. 

The indefinite closure of our clubs (all brands & the CSC) due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many difficult decisions for the company. While the company has explored all options to continue operations and protect our team members' continued employment, we do not see a way forward at this time. Regrettably, all team members (all brands & the CSC) are being terminated effective today, March 24, 2020.  (Steve Nash Clubs Human Resources)

Yoga instructor Derek Ralphs says he’s worked for the company from the very beginning. He started working for Fitness World in Richmond in 1988 and after the clubs closed to protect public safety he thought he was still coming back to work.

“We’re all very disappointed and very let down,” Ralphs said. “I don’t think they were struggling. We had over 100,000 members in our club. So, you have to be sad for all the members that were coming here. This was part of their daily routine.”

It's estimated about 1,200 plus employees worked for the various clubs including Steve Nash Fitness World, Crunch Fitness and UFC gym.

CTV News reached out to the company via email and via phone to discuss the closure and how its handling employees pay and benefits and has not yet received a response.

On Wednesday, the federal government offered new support for workers like Ralphs. It amounts to $2,000 a month, for up to four months, for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

It's called the Canada Emergency Response benefit.

“Right now, a lot of people are sitting around the kitchen table with bills, trying to figure out what needs to be paid, and how to plan for the coming months,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We are hopeful that the system will be up and running by the sixth of April and that cheques or direct deposits will be flowing days after that.”

Related: Feds announce emergency benefit |

According to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey, about one in three business could only last a month without more help. 

“It’s devastating to say, but some small businesses just won’t be able to come out the other side,” said Muriel Protzer,  senior policy analyst, CFIB. 

But the group is encouraged by the government's latest annoucement of support for workers. 

As for employees who are terminated, the CFIB says termination of an employee should result in severence pay even if the business closes.

Ralphs has already applied for Employment Insurance after the gym had closed temporarily. If he can't get EI, he could be eligible for money from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. After the COVID-19 crisis is over, he says may work for himself.

“Maybe I’ll have a private student in the future after this all ends, but I’m not sure at this point."