California gym that defied health order now tied to coronavirus outbreak, officials say

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SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – A gym in San Diego that defied the county’s public health order has now been tied to a COVID-19 outbreak and is being ordered to shut down, officials said.

“The Gym,” on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, remained open for indoor workouts even after San Diego was required by the state to close fitness facilities that operate inside, county leaders said.

Officials wouldn’t disclose whether the people who tested positive were employees or customers, when the first case arose, or how many people tested positive, but a community outbreak is defined as three or more cases linked to one location.

Health officials ordered The Gym to shut down immediately last Thursday for violating the health order, but they failed to comply, Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s chief public health officer, said.

“For some businesses it takes a lot of actions to take place in order for them to do that,” she said Wednesday. “We work with them to close, and they (did close) on Monday.”

KSWB contacted The Gym for comment, and they said they were not interested in talking. The Gym is not the only local fitness business defying the governor’s order to end indoor activities.

Boulevard Fitness in University Heights is still open, too. KSWB spoke with one member, Mark Wheelin, after he finished working out Wednesday. He said he has zero concern there could be an outbreak at Boulevard like there was at The Gym.

“Not at all. I joined because they opened,” Wheelin said. “My gym closed and my problem was — my gym did everything they’re doing in here and more.”

Another member said staying active will help them prevent contracting the virus.

“Of course it brings fear because we don’t want it to close down, we want to be able to do something that actually keeps us alive,” Kristina Dybdahl said.

According to the order sent by Dr. Wooten, The Gym in Pacific Beach can reopen once all fitness activities are conducted outside — something the mayor and local leaders have worked in recent weeks to make easier.

San Diego Police Department said they have not issued the business any citation for violating the public health order.

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