Fitness industry calls on state to let them reopen indoor operations


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As indoor gyms and fitness centers remain closed for most of California, some leaders of the fitness industry and a former U.S. surgeon general are calling on the state to let them reopen.

“Leaving millions without options for safe exercise,” said Bill Bode, chief operating officer for Planet Fitness. 

Bode declared it’s time to let gyms reopen. 

“California is the only state in the nation that has not permitted indoor fitness centers to open,” Bode said. 

All but four counties in California are in the purple tier — the most restrictive tier that doesn’t allow fitness centers to operate indoors. But industry experts pointed to recent data collected in other states showing gyms do not significantly contribute to spreading the virus with proper protocols in place. 

“In New York, for example, fitness centers accounted for just 0.06% of community spread when they reopened, which is lower than retail stores, constructions sites, salons and auto dealers — all of which are permitted to open now in California,” Bode said. 

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said reopening gyms safely is possible. 

“Not because they told me, but because I witnessed it at several of their facilities,” Carmona said. 

California shut down indoor operations in most gyms and fitness centers ahead of the holidays as the state braced for and then struggled with a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

As cases begin to stabilize in California and vaccine distribution continues, fitness industry leaders hope state health leaders hear them out.

“We stand ready to sit down with the governor and discuss this plan and assist in any way possible,” Bode said. 

FOX40 reached out to the California Department of Public Health for comment but has yet to hear back. 

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