San Diego County in purple tier: Gyms forced to move operations outdoors

Posted at 7:04 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 10:04:18-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Local gym owners are faced with another difficult decision as San Diego County moves into the purple tier, the most restrictive of the state’s classifications of COVID-19 spread.

Under the new regulations, gyms may not operate indoors, meaning those who cannot operate outdoors will be mandated to close.

The restrictions take effect Saturday.

RELATED: County moves into California's COVID-19 purple tier

“You want your members happy. You want your staff happy. You’ve got to put food on your table. And you’re trying to do the right thing, you’re wearing a mask and you’re indoors, so it’s going to be just an unbelievable, worrisome time,” said Bryan Welch, general manager of the Point Loma Sports Club.

Welch said the new restrictions will not have a significant impact on his gym because the Point Loma Sports Club had already moved 90% of its operations outside. But he said he empathizes with gyms that do not have usable outdoor space or a cooperative landlord.

Even some gym owners that can move outside may not choose to do so. They say limits would force them to operate at an untenable loss, leaving them to choose between operating indoors in violation of public health orders or going out of business. One owner, who did not wish to be identified, told ABC 10News he plans to continue indoor operations in order to stay in business.

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While Welch is empathetic to gyms facing that tough decision, he said he believes the only way to safely reopen all businesses is for the portion of the public that has eschewed safety measures to commit to wearing masks and social distancing.

“I think your freedom actually grows. And you have to wear a piece of cloth on your face. Who cares?” said Welch.