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Oceanside gym owner reopens business despite San Diego County health order

Posted at 12:35 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 19:24:19-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) -- The owner of an Oceanside gym who was cited over the weekend for opening against San Diego County health orders called on officials to allow his gym and other fitness facilities in the area to reopen.

Lou Uridel, owner of Metroflex Gym in Oceanside, knows he's touched a nerve -- both for and against his decision to open up his gym to clients. He reopened his gym once again Wednesday.

Uridel was arrested and cited over the weekend for refusing to comply with county orders, and he said it was while he was in custody that he decided he wanted to hold a rally in support of businesses reopening.

“We're going to be peaceful," he said. "A rally like this is not something you can really control, and I want to make sure the message gets out there."

Dozens of supporters showed up and stood by Uridel's side in the gym's parking lot, including Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez who has expressed his support before.

"Our businesses must be allowed to open as fast and as safe as possible," said Rodriguez at the rally. "The number one phone call I get is from a business owner that says, 'I have to shut down" my life savings is gone.'"

Uridel opened his gym for members immediately after Wednesday's rally. He committed to waiting until the rally ended to open his doors.

"I'm nervous because if I open my business, which I will today, there's a good likelihood I'll get arrested again,” said Uridel.

Uridel said he doesn't want to put police in a tough position, but that's exactly what Oceanside police told 10News he is doing.

Despite Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss saying he personally agrees with Rodriguez and Uridel, in a letter Saturday, Weiss said Oceanside business owners and individuals must continue to follow the county health orders.

"I respect the police," Uridel added. "I think they are heroes, but I need to do what I need to do for my family, so it's a tough situation for everybody to be in."

Oceanside police did not show up to the rally and did not plan to make a visit to the gym unless the department received complaints.