Reopening California

Riverside Gym Defies Gov. Newsom's Order to Close

Fitness Mania is staying open despite Governor Newsom's order to close fitness centers in 30 counties, including Riverside.

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Despite reopening rollbacks, calling on gyms in 30 California counties to close, Fitness Mania in Riverside is remaining open.

Fitness Mania owner Mike Ends said he believes Fitness Mania is staying open lawfully, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest announcement.

“Our First Amendment speaks clearly, we are here for the people and if they choose to come, we are here,” Ends said. “We want to stay open, we can’t close. If we close, we will lose everything we have.”

Although the California Department of Public Health Fitness Facilities Checklist states that face coverings are necessary, Ends said they are optional at Fitness Mania. Instead, customers must sign “COVID waivers” upon entering the facility, and equipment is sanitized after each use.

"COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, until there is a vaccine and or an effective therapy," Newsom said Monday. "Limit your mixing with people outside of your household. It’s just common sense, but the data suggests not everyone is practicing common sense."

Coronavirus Deaths in Your City and State — and Across the US

These charts use daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.

The impact of coronavirus varies enormously in the United States from one place to another.

Source: Johns Hopkins University.
Credit: Visuals by Amy O’Kruk/NBC, data analysis by Ron Campbell/NBC

According to Ends, the gym has been even busier than usual and sign-ups have increased.

Ends said that Fitness Mania is prepared to fight the order in court if necessary.

California Fitness Alliance responded to Gov. Newsom’s reopening rollbacks, expressing that they are disappointed, but “appreciate the challenge that Governor Newsom is facing.”

In a press release, California Fitness Alliance stated that they created health and safety guidelines when gyms reopened a month ago, including a mandatory mask requirement.

California Fitness Alliance also claimed that there have been virtually no COVID-19 cases linked to the fitness industry.

“We continue to believe that the physical and mental health benefits of fitness are critical to helping people during the pandemic,” California Fitness Alliance said in a press release. “Physical and mental health are essential to a person’s overall well-being and can help minimize the impact of COVID-19.”

In addition to fitness centers, Newsom ordered personal care services, including hair and nail salons, indoor malls, non-essential offices, and indoor places of worship to close in counties that have been on the state’s watch list for three days or longer.

Indoor activities in restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms are being shut down statewide.

California was the first state in the country to issue a mandatory, statewide stay-at-home order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. That was in mid-March. Most businesses and churches voluntarily complied, scrambling to let employees work from home and moving worship services online.

In a phase approach, California began tor reopen sectors of its economy in May but by mid-June there were signs that the virus was surging, forcing a rollback of those plans. For counties on the state’s watch for rising virus cases, Newsom ordered bars to close and indoor operations halted at restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, zoos, museums and family entertainment centers like bowling alleys and miniature golf courses.

On Monday, Newsom extended that order statewide.

In the last two weeks, the number of counties on the watch list has swelled from 19 to 30, covering roughly 80% of the state’s population. During that period coronavirus-related hospitalizations have risen 28%, including a 20% increase in patients requiring intensive care.

The state’s death toll now is above 7,000.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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