Gym owners tell Newsom they’re ‘desperate’ to reopen before they have to close for good

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom told a gathering of gym owners Wednesday that his office is finishing up safety guidelines that will allow them to reopen, perhaps in a week’s time.

In one of his remote roundtables with different business groups, the governor sought to get some feedback on the impact of the lockdown on fitness gyms and the path forward.

“Within a week or so we believe we’ll be in a position to make public the guidelines,” Gov. Newsom said during the roundtable.

Adam Attia, the owner of Fitness Rangers in Sacramento, was invited to the session because of his gym’s popularity among the governor’s staff. His high-intensity workout programs promote a nightclub vibe.

“A lot more classes outdoors. We’re starting to do parking lot workouts,” Attia explained. “We’ve provided a ton of free workouts online.”

Gym operators told the governor that exercise keeps people healthy, both physically and mentally, during the pandemic.

Over the past few weeks, a record number of people who want to maintain their fitness and mental wellbeing have been exercising outdoors, but it’s not the best idea in triple-digit temperatures.

Sacramento gyms got a head start installing COVID-19 protocols last week when county health officials gave them the OK to open, only to rescind the order after the state stepped in.

“We’re desperate,” Attia said. “We’re at a point where I’m going to have to lay everyone off. I may have to close my doors permanently if we can’t reopen soon.”

It means fewer exercise options as summer approaches.

“You think it’s going to take three, four, five, six months? What’s your sense to bring back where you were previous to the shutdown?” Newsom asked.

“We’re not going to get back to where we were for at least a year,” Attia responded.

That’s if Attia can start the recovery next week with state-issued guidelines. The governor’s health advisors said they are refining those guidelines, which will still be subject to local health official guidelines before gyms are allowed to open.

Attia pressed the governor hard, saying gyms are safer than restaurants and hair salons, which got a headstart over gyms.

Attia said he’s willing to accept restrictions even if they are severe.

“If I can have 10 people in a 10,000-square-foot facility, I will do it tomorrow and they will be much safer in our gym than in any other business that has already been allowed to open,” he said.

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