San Jose gym fined $1 million for COVID-19 violations finally agrees to close
A San Jose gym has closed after racking up nearly $1 million in fines for violating coronavirus health orders.
The owner of California Ripped Fitness submitted a statement of compliance that indicated it wasn’t holding indoor operations, Santa Clara County announced Wednesday.
“We will be working with them on an agreement to resolve the outstanding fines,” the county’s health department said, adding that the gym could face additional fines and potential court action if it reopens.
The gym sent an email to members apologizing for closing over the weekend and said it had no choice but to shut its doors temporarily because it had been served “a court-mandated shutdown,” KTVU-TV reported.
“If we didn’t close now we would of been shut down permanently,” the notice said. “We are still fighting our legal battle for your rights and ours, hopefully we will be open soon.”
However, Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams told KTVU-TV on Monday that there wasn’t any court order.
The Bay Area county, which has seen more than 100,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 1,700 COVID-19 deaths, is in the state’s purple tier of business regulations that ban indoor gym operations, although the facilities can place equipment and hold classes outdoors. The rules are designed to slow the spread of the virus and reduce pressure on hospitals.
The gym had defiantly remained open for months, and Santa Clara County had issued numerous fines after repeatedly visiting the site and receiving dozens of complaints.
In hand-written window signs, the gym owner had argued that “we are exercising our constitutional right to peacefully protest. We are protesting that health clubs and exercise are essential.”
The gym closed for six months earlier in the pandemic, reopened at partial capacity in September when the state allowed it but then refused to close again when public health orders were tightened again in the fall.
The gym is in an East San Jose area that is among the hardest hit by COVID-19, with 8 of every 100 residents in surrounding neighborhoods infected, according to county data cited by the Mercury News.
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