SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a roundtable discussion with gym owners and fitness instructors on Wednesday, Governor Newsom said guidelines to reopen the fitness industry could be released “within a week or so.”
"We're getting closer," he told the group.
Newsom hosted the Zoom call with Californians in the fitness industry and members of his Task Force on Business & Jobs Recovery in the wake of COVID-19.
At least one gym owner, Adam Attia of Fitness Rangers in Sacramento, said he is desperate to reopen. The gym received a PPP loan from the federal government, but Attia said that money will soon run out. He’s concerned he may have to make layoffs if his gym isn’t allowed to reopen soon.
“I cannot afford to wait much longer,” Attia said. “We are literally gasping for air.
Francesca Schuler, CEO of In-Shape Health Clubs, said the company was forced to lay off more than 3,000 employees. She said the shutdown has been heartbreaking in more ways than one.
“People just want to come back, they're ready,” Schuler said. “People often think of the gym as the treadmill and the elliptical, but it's really the community and the motivation.”
The majority of gyms and studios have shifted their workouts online. Dario Tejo, owner of a micro gym in Belmont called “Origin,” said he is already thinking of new safety measures. He’s currently helping his clients focus on their physical and mental during the stay-at-home order.
“The impact of having your work space, be your home space, be your leisure space, be a place where we teach our kids. It’s a mess,” Tejo said. It’s extremely hard to find stillness and peace.”
It’s why the owners hope Newsom lifts restrictions for their industry soon.
“If I could have 10 people in 10,000 square foot facility I would do it tomorrow and they'll be much safer in our business than any other business that has been allowed to reopen,” Attia told the governor.
Newsom said he understands the urgency to reopen and said guidelines to re-open the fitness industry could be released “within a week or so.”
“Your sector is multi-faceted and we don't want to be naive and just put out something that's bland and doesn't meet your unique criteria,” he said.
This story was reported in Oakland, Calif.