Fitness centers sue California over virus closures

California fitness centers have filed a lawsuit alleging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus unfairly target the industry and demanding they be allowed to reopen.


(Photo by Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images)

The San Francisco-based California Fitness Alliance filed the suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Scott Street, a lawyer for the group, said Tuesday. The group represents almost 300 businesses, including Orange Theory Fitness, Fitness SF, and Golds Gym/SoCal. 

The lawsuit accuses state and Los Angeles County officials of requiring gyms to close without providing evidence they contribute to virus outbreaks and at a time when staying healthy is critical for California’s residents. The prolonged closure is depriving millions of people the ability to exercise as temperatures soar and smoky air from wildfires blankets much of the state, said Francesca Schuler, a founding partner of the alliance.

Messages seeking comment were sent to the California Department of Public Health and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The suit is one of many filed by California sectors walloped by closures due to the pandemic. Newsom’s administration let many businesses reopen in spring but shut them again in July as virus cases surged, and is allowing reopenings to take place in phases as counties see virus cases diminish.

Under state rules, fitness centers can reopen indoors at 10% of capacity when a county’s infections drop from widespread to substantial. In counties with minimal infections, gyms can reopen indoors at 50% capacity.