Gov. Newsom Says Reopening Guidelines For Fitness Businesses Coming Soon

Gyms and other fitness centers that were forced to close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic could see new guidelines from the state on when and how they might reopen within the next "week or so," Gov. Gavin Newsom said today during an online video-conference with industry leaders across the state.

“I don't want to say next week, but within a week or so we believe we'll be in a position to make public the guidelines in your sector,'' Newsom said. “But one thing we also recognize is your sector is multifaceted, and we don't want to be naive and just put out something that's bland and that doesn't meet your unique criteria and your unique considerations, and also look at this from a regional perspective as we do everything.''

During the online video-conference on Wednesday, fitness industry leaders described the impact the state's safer-at-home orders have had had on their businesses and how they've tried to pivot their businesses to take advantage of online training and other services.

Francesca Schuler, CEO of In-Shape Health Clubs, which has about 60 locations around the state, said the coronavirus shutdowns forced her company to lay off more than 3,000 people, which she described as "heartbreaking."

Before the pandemic, the fitness industry was seeing robust growth and was a thriving sector, however, COVID-19 put an end to that.

Schuler said despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 her company was "100% aligned" with closing their gyms amid the pandemic, adding that it was "absolutely the right thing to do."

“But when you go to zero revenue, you have to make tough decisions with people,'' she said.

Schuler pointed out that gyms are more than just a place for bodybuilders or triathletes - they also serve customers who have underlying health conditions or who are just trying to stay healthy. Schuler said the fitness industry is really "in preventative health care."

Newsom said the state is working on new guidelines that would allow gyms and other fitness centers to reopen and expect to release them sometime later this week.

Photo: Getty Images

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