Fitness industry wants Gov. Newsom’s ‘partnership’ as gyms told to close indoor operations

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PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — When Placer County was recently downgraded to the purple, or most restrictive, tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan, gyms were ordered to move outside or shut down.

Brandon Daniel, the owner of All the Way Fit in Roseville, kept his business open inside and said Tuesday he plans to keep it that way.

“Have had thousands and thousands of people in my facility since March and nobody in my facility has tested positive during that time,” Daniel told FOX40.

With sanitation and safety measures in place, Daniel said he doesn’t believe gyms and fitness centers threaten the efforts to stop the spread of the virus — and others agree.

“We believe that we are causing a bigger issue by not letting people stay healthy by keeping gyms closed and the data supports that,” said Francesca Schuler, the CEO of Stockton-based In-Shape Health Clubs and an advisory board member with the California Fitness Alliance.

Last week, the alliance sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office asking him to work with the fitness industry to keep gyms open. It’s teamwork Schuler said has been denied previously.

Schuler said her company has now been forced to lay off thousands of employees right before the holidays. Now, she is hoping for some empathy from the governor.

“We want to partner,” she said. “We are in the health business, like, nobody cares more than us about healthy people. And so, what’s disappointing is the lack of partnership.”

For Daniel, he said some members have stayed away during the pandemic. But he also said most of those who work out at his gym see his defiance of closing as a blessing.

He added that if he did shut down, he could forfeit the business he’s put his time and passion into for years.

“We lose that momentum,” he said. “There’s a lot of business you can lose by shutting down for weeks or even months.”

Only the counties in the state’s purple tier are being told to close gyms or move them outside. All other colored tiers allow gyms to stay open indoors but on a limited capacity basis.

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