San Diego's gym attendance lags in move to orange tier

Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 20:34:12-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The region's recent move into the orange tier isn't necessarily translating into increased attendance at San Diego gyms.

Cat Kom says she's doing all she can to get people back inside Studio Sweat in Rancho Bernardo, with maximum capacity now increased to 25 percent.

“25 percent gets us back to what we would consider a full class and everybody still has these almost 8-to-10 foot workstations that they can have just to themselves,” Kom said.

Kom limits her sessions to 18 people, which, given the size of her studio, means she could fill her classes entirely under the current restrictions.

But amid the pandemic, classes typically see attendance of 10 to 14 people

“We're still struggling across the board in the fitness industry to get people back to their healthy place,” Kom said.

Kom takes aim at the state easing capacity restrictions for retail and restaurants more so than gyms, saying it creates a chilling effect.

County data shows potential exposure at gyms in 0.4 percent of COVID-19 cases since last June. That percentage grows to 7.1 percent for bars and restaurants, and 9.5 percent for retail. A county spokesman noted there are a lot more people in retail and restaurants than gyms.

A new study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine says exercise was strongly associated with a reduced risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.

“I hope this study will change some minds and open up some thinking in our public health officials onto what is important and what should we be trying trying to keep open and available,” said Dr. Robert Sallis, of Kaiser Permanente

Kom says she'll welcome everyone one back without judgment.

“I don't want to make anyone feel pressure to come back. I just want them to know that it is a good idea for them to come back on so many levels,” Kom said.

The trade group the California Fitness Alliance is calling for 75 percent capacity at gyms in the orange tier.

The state health department did not immediately issue a comment in response.