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California

Riverside County health club representatives express frustration with latest order to close doors

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Health clubs in Riverside County, for the third time since March are being ordered to stop indoor workouts under the purple tier.

The tier is part of the state's color-coded strategy for responding to Covid-19.

"Having to furlough 120 staff members again, it really puts our business and our members and our team members in such a tough position," said Lauren Krebbs, Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Saber Fitness.

The company owns and operates 22 Planet Fitness health clubs in 7 California counties, including Riverside and San Bernardino.

Tired of heavy financial losses because of the shutdowns, the head of the franchise group says his office is having ongoing talks with the Governor's Office.

They're pushing for another approach to Covid-19 which would allow health clubs to remain open.

"We believe indoor fitness is essential. We believe that we provide a service that people really really need right now. A lot of people are experiencing stress that they have never experienced before," said franchise owner Ryan Ghallegher.

The health club industry taking a significant hit because of Covid-19 and the shutdowns.

A top executive with In Shape Fitness says upwards of 40 percent of clubs have closed their doors for good.

On September 22nd, health clubs and gyms were cleared to allow indoor workouts at limited capacity when the county was moved to the red tier.

Eric Weaver, the owner of Get Fit Training Systems in Palm Desert tells News Channel 3 he "hasn't decided" whether he'll close his gym when the purple restrictions take effect, and says he wants members to check with him.

"Because gyms have been closed, it causes other health issues including diabetes obesity and all the other stuff that people actually go to the gym for," said Weaver.

For Power of Fitness in Palm Desert, a post on their company Facebook page reads in part "Is your gym closing again? Well not ours!".

A representative for the gym, not wanting to comment on camera, offered a clarification.

He tells News Channel 3 the post refers to their "outdoor workout area".

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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