North Park gym forced to move outside, immediately finds syringe

Last Real Gym defied health order at risk of fines
Posted at 5:13 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 20:37:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A North Park gym owner who defied the governor's health order and moved workouts indoors was served with a violation notice from the county, threatening $1,000 daily fines.

Owner Frank Kole initially complied with last month's order and moved everything outdoors, but after five days made the decision to go back inside. That's because he says the sidewalks outside his gym were littered with feces, blood stains, and trash. Kole instead instituted strict rules indoors, requiring masks and social distancing.

But the county, while acknowledging the tough reality outside, still served him with the violation, saying it was the law.

RELATED: North Park gym moves back in after 'disgusting' outdoor workouts

"I appreciate that you previously complied with the state and local orders by moving your operations outdoors and had difficulties due to the surrounding environment," said the violation letter, signed by Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten. "I encourage you to work with the city of San Diego to see what can be done to resolve the difficulties you previously faced."

On Friday, however, Kole took everything back outside. Immediately, he and his staff discovered a syringe on the sidewalk as they were setting up equipment. The city of San Diego power washed the sidewalk on Wednesday, but Kole says it was a quick job without trash pickup.

"If we weren't out there cleaning that sidewalk up everyday, that needle would still be there," Kole said.

A spokeswoman for the city of San Diego says environmental crews will pick up syringes with biohazard boxes when they encounter them. In the meantime, residents can report the on the city's Get-it-done App.

Kole says he will comply with the order and keep the gym outside, even if it means reduced hours and more staff time moving everything in and out everyday.

"I'm a proud American and I'm a proud business owner and I will do what it takes to keep my business alive," Kole said. "You will have to pull that business from my bloody hands before I close."