Gym owners and their members are putting maximum pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow indoor workouts, and on Friday the head of one of the largest gyms made a desperate but determined plea online.
The head of the Planet Fitness chain went public with his request to Newsom to allow gyms to reopen, but while Planet Fitness facilities remain closed, other gyms are operating in defiance of the state order.
It’s business as usual at California Ripped Fitness in San Jose, despite the fact that it’s not supposed to be open indoors. The Capitol Avenue gym is defying state rules, racking up over $500,000 in fines from Santa Clara County. Management has declined to comment, but some members did.
“It’s like opening up restaurants, and you’re out without a mask eating,” said Joseph Robledo, a member of California Ripped Fitness. “What’s that doing compared to here, you’re cleaning your equipment and you always have your mask on. What’s the difference between that and a restaurant?”
That argument was used by Bill Bode, the head of Planet Fitness, during a virtual news conference Friday, urging Newsom to allow his 155 California gyms to reopen.
Along with other supporters, he pointed out that his California Safe Fitness Plan calls for more social distancing and around-the-clock sanitation.
“If implemented, the California Safe Fitness Plan would have the most stringent safety protocols for ALL fitness centers in the entire country,” said Bode.
Dr. Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general, said members seemed to comply with the safety protocols.
“What was really interesting is I witnessed every single person that was a member participating by wiping down their machines each time,” he said.
The Santa Clara County Health department declined to comment on Planet Fitness’ plan, but said California Ripped Fitness and other gyms are not the same as other businesses.
“The transmission is still really high in the community and again the state has made it very clear what’s allowed in the purple tier,” said Mike Balliet, the environmental health director.
When asked if California Ripped Fitness would continue to be fined if they remain open he said that the county is looking at all avenues moving forward, including additional fines.
So far, Newsom has not responded to NBC Bay Area’s request for comment.