Health club group files lawsuit challenging California’s health orders

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Health clubs, fitness and yoga studios have been trying to operate outdoors since indoor operations were closed in July.

They were opened for a month back in June only to be shut down again during a COVID-19 surge.

Gino Gonzales told FOX40 he is determined to keep fit at California Family Fitness during the recent heat and smoke.

“For me, I don’t make excuses. I just come out here and grind it and do what I got to do,” Gonzales said. “I’m just blessed that they’re open.”

But that type of diehard devotion is not enough to keep health clubs viable, not to mention small mom and pop fitness studios that are facing bankruptcy.

Exercising outside during heat waves and hazardous smoke has become too big an obstacle.

The weather was moderate Tuesday but there is a concern because the fire season is just half over. The winter months coming on are also expected to be cold and wet.

That’s why the recently-created California Fitness Alliance said they filed a lawsuit challenging state health orders.

“They are irrational, not based on evidence and we believe that unlike some of the other plaintiffs who have brought cases, we can make that showing,” said Scott Street, attorney for the California Fitness Alliance.

The alliance helped develop state safety protocols that were used during the one-month opening and are used by those exercising outdoors.

“Within 5 million check-ins there has been not a case traced back to the use of a health club,” said California Family Fitness owner Randy Karr.

With the current state color coding for counties, the percentage of fitness club members allowed indoors will be staggered.

“Red is at 10, orange is 25 and then yellow is 50. So, in no sense will we ever be able to open back at 100%, even with cases lower than we’ve even seen in the U.S.,” Karr explained.

Health clubs make the case that not only does exercise fight off mental health issues, it helps those who have underlying health issues fight off the COVID-19 virus.

“It’s important for people to be healthy in the event that they have to fight COVID,” Karr said. “So, we consider fitness to be essential, and right now we’re not being treated that way.”

Health clubs said they would rather work with state and county health officials on ways to reopen safety but are currently bearing the brunt of the shutdown.

As of Tuesday, Sacramento County still had a purple designation by state health officials which means indoor gym activities are prohibited.

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