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Oceanside gym moving operations outside after receiving letter from public health officer

Posted at 4:19 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 19:19:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- The owner of MetroFlex Gym in Oceanside said he is now in compliance with San Diego County's public health order after refusing to close his doors for months.

Lou Uridel fought back against the closure orders of all gyms and fitness centers in California, saying he would lose the business he worked so hard to build if he closed his doors. Uridel also said he provides wellness services that don't fall under the order.

Friday, Uridel received a letter from Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, to immediately close.

The letter states that MetroFlex Gym was operating indoors in violation of state and county public health orders.

Uridel quickly moved some fitness equipment on the sidewalk outside of his gym and is now getting a permit from the City of Oceanside to expand and build a more extensive outdoor gym.

He said he would be closed down until later this week while he gets it all squared away, but some services inside will continue.

"We have nutrition supplement store, food pickup services," he explained.

Before Dr. Wooten's letter was sent, Oceanside Police visited Uridel's gym a few times to try to gain voluntary compliance with the public health order.

Uridel tells 10News he received positive feedback about his gym's cleanliness, and he went above and beyond to ensure the safety of employees and members.

"We hired a virologist, and they said the biggest things were capacity, social distancing, and airflow. So that's what we focused on," he said.

Uridel said he purchased a high quality disinfecting spray gun for $6,000 and bought six industrial-grade fans to circulate the air while leaving front and back doors open at his gym.

He said the gym was disinfected every hour, equipment was moved to allow for social distancing, and capacity was limited to 20 percent.

"I've had 38,100 visits since May 8th, we have ten trainers here, and we've not had one outbreak," he said. "It's just like a nail in our back to be treated like an egregious violator. I've had death threats. I have people calling me a mass murderer, irresponsible and selfish; I don't see myself as selfish for trying to provide employment for ten trainers and staff."

Uridel said had he followed the closure orders from the beginning and closed down his gym, he would lose the business he worked so hard to build.

"You can't keep throwing us on life support and expecting us to stay around," he said. "Businesses aren't light switches; you can't turn us on and off."

Uridel was cited back in May for refusing to shut down during the initial orders from the state. He has since hired a lawyer.