SAN DIEGO – A University Heights gym owner who vowed not to close, even after being fined for violating the county’s public health order, has closed down the gym.
In a Wednesday letter to members, Boulevard Fitness owner Shawn Gilbert said potential fines against the gym would prevent it from reopening when restrictions eventually are lifted for indoor businesses. Gilbert kept Boulevard open for its members continuously after mid-July when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered gyms — as well as salons, churches and some offices — to cease indoor operations amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
A reopening date for the gym has not yet been set, the letter shows, but Gilbert said gym officials are working with legal counsel to come into compliance with public health orders.
“We are not sure when this closure period will end, but we will be continuously (monitoring) this and update you when appropriate,” he wrote.
In mid-July, Gilbert told FOX 5 his gym was hit hard during the state’s initial shutdown. He decided it would be best to reopen instead with new health and safety protocols for its members.
Gilbert did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment Wednesday.
“Shutting this down is — there are no words for that,” gym member Kristina Dybdahl said.
The closure comes at a time when gym owners and local leaders are searching out solutions to keep businesses going during the indoor shutdown. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed an executive order earlier this month, clearing the way for gyms and churches to use the city’s more than 300 parks as well as shorelines and recreation centers.
Other gyms in the area also have moved equipment and classes outdoors to navigate the closure.
At Boulevard, members will continue to be billed for monthly memberships “to ensure that there is a great gym available for you on the other side of this closure,” Gilbert said in the letter. He also noted he’s hopeful the closure will be only for a short period of time.
Those looking to cancel memberships also can do so by emailing the gym, he said.
But for Dybdahl, paying the bill is no problem.
“Hopefully this will open up again in some kind of way and I don’t want it to die so yeah I will continue paying my bills,” she said.
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