25 local gym owners sue to lift restrictions

by: Chris Biele, FOX 5 Digital Team

Posted: Dec 30, 2020 / 06:32 PM PST
/ Updated: Dec 30, 2020 / 06:32 PM PST

SAN DIEGO — A group of 25 San Diego gym owners are banding together in a lawsuit demanding the ability to offer indoor workouts with safety precautions.

Under the current regional stay-at-home order, county gyms are allowed to operate outdoors with physical distancing, but all fitness centers must cease indoor activities.

The lawsuit against the County of San Diego and State of California, among others, argues the gyms can safely welcome in members during the pandemic.

“First and foremost, we want to make sure we protect our customers — and we have this whole time through all the guidelines,” said Artem Sharoshkin, owner of The Boxing Club, which is among the gyms suing the state. “The last thing we want is for any of our members to potentially be at risk of getting sick.”

Batta Fulkerson Law Group is representing the group of gyms owners at no cost. Lawyers say the next step is to argue that the gyms should be allowed to operate as they’re requesting while the case is being tried in court. 

“To deprive people of the ability to go work out and exercise, which is something we do to maintain and improve our physical and mental health, seems pretty counterintuitive,” said Charlotte Najar of Batta Fulkerson Law Group.

State and county leaders have argued that the current stay-at-home order is vital to saving lives and keeping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Statewide, medical staffing is stretched increasingly thin as California hospitals scramble to find beds for patients amid an explosion of coronavirus cases.

In a briefing Wednesday, San Diego County also reported 2,448 new COVID-19 infections and 37 additional fatalities, raising the cumulative totals to 152,512 cases and 1,472 deaths.

The gym owners say their facilities can operate inside without worsening the pandemic — and that the policies deciding which businesses can remain open indoors, and which can’t, are too arbitrary.

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