County Serves Immediate Closure, Cease and Desist Orders to 2 North County Gyms

Both gyms were reprimanded by the county for operating indoors in defiance of state and county health orders

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A North County gym was served with a cease and desist order Friday for operating indoors, and another that was previously cited by law enforcement for the same public health violation was ordered to immediately close.

The gyms in the county's crosshairs are The Gym in Vista and MetroFlex Gym in Oceanside.

The Gym, located off Sycamore Avenue near State Route 78, was ordered to cease and desist indoor operations and maintain social distancing, face covering and sanitation protocols for all outdoor operation, but based on the letter sent by Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten the gym has already begun moving at least part of its operations outside.

"I appreciate that you have ultimately made the decision to comply with state and local orders by moving your operation outdoors, however, compliance cannot be delayed any further," Dr. Wooten's order said.

It was not clear if the infections occurred while the business was operating defiantly or before the public health order was modified on July 6, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda.

The Gym's Pacific Beach location, operated by a different owner, was also operating indoors in defiance of the public health order. Earlier this week, county health officials linked a COVID-19 outbreak to the fitness center and ordered it to close immediately.

MetroFlex Gym on North Home Street drew the harsher penalty of the two: an order from Dr. Wooten to close its doors immediately. The closure order stated the gym could reopen if it met the following criteria:

  • All fitness activities must be held outdoors in accordance with industry guidelines set forth in state and county public health orders
  • MetroFlex must submit a reopening plan to the Public Health Officer and must be able to prove it is regulating social distancing and sanitation protocols outdoors

If MetroFlex ignores the closure order, its owners could be arrested or fined. According to Dr. Wooten's order, MetroFlex has already been cited once by the Oceanside Police Department in May for operating indoors.

Following the citation, MetroFlex's owner Lou Uridel told NBC 7 he planned to reopen the gym, with the support of an Oceanside City Councilmember.

Some business owners and city leaders in the North County city are calling to reopen the economy, reports NBC 7's Melissa Adan.

“My motivation was always to put food on the table for my family, to support my members and open the business of my dream,” Uridel said.

Requests for comment sent to both The Gym and MetroFlex were not returned.

Gyms are allowed to operate outdoors in open air, or under a tent with no more than one side closed off. Social distancing, facial coverings and sanitation measures must be in place as well.

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