An association of gym owners is suing Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County health officials, seeking paths to a return to indoor fitness and the relaxing of health orders aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.
The California Fitness Alliance believes that government should not continue preventing Californians from having equitable and safe access to indoor fitness centers and the proven benefits, including maximizing their resilience to COVID-19, that exercise provides to their physical and mental health, the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Monday states.
"The CFA is taking this action reluctantly,'' CFA lawyer Scott J. Street said. "Its members not only complied with the initial eight-week shutdown, but many were proactive in shutting down prior to the statewide stay-at-home order in March as a demonstration of their commitment to the health of their communities.''
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The suit asks that Newsom's stay-at-home order be ended and that a judge find that county officials abused their discretion by refusing to allow fitness establishments to re-open after the closure order was issued July 13.
A representative for Newsom's office could not be immediately reached. CFA worked with Newsom's office and state health officials to detail how indoor fitness activities can safely reopen and strengthen the statewide effort to help people maintain their health and well-being during the pandemic, the suit states. But now, the indefinite extension of a virtual statewide shutdown and rules restricting access to fitness centers are jeopardizing the health and well-being of millions of Californians who need a safe and secure place to exercise, it adds.
The shutdown is having a "devastating impact on the many thousands who serve in fitness, most of whom got into the industry because they believe in helping people lead healthier lives,'' the suit states.
Not all Californians live in places that are conducive to outdoor exercise, whether due to weather, smoke, lack of open spaces or security concerns, and minority communities are particularly disadvantaged, according to Cory Brightwell, a CFA advisory board member and CEO of Chuze Fitness.
Access to exercise is critical to helping people boost their immune systems and combat the effects of COVID-19, according to Marc Thomas, another CFA advisory board member and Co-CEO of Aspyr Holdings, an Orangetheory Fitness franchisee with locations throughout the state.