What Fresno County moving back into 'purple' tier means for local gyms

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some Fresno County gyms and fitness centers did not know they're supposed to stop indoor operations by Wednesday.

Working out outdoors is still allowed, but many gym owners say that won't be enough to help them pay the bills as this pandemic continues to take a massive financial toll.

"It's just hard to go, 'Yeah, sure, you want me to close. I'll just close the doors. No problem.' It's much bigger than that," said Fit Republic owner Chris Montoya.

The owner of Fit Republic has concerns for his staff and members after Fresno County joined most parts of the state in the purple tier this week -- which requires indoor operations at gyms to shut down.

"What I want to do is continue doing business, of course. People say well, it's about the money. Well, kind of, yeah. I've got 250 employees that would love their paycheck. There's no parachute for them this time," said Montoya.

It's a process that Montoya's staff has become all too familiar with since the pandemic first forced widespread closures back in March.

"The governor dangled that carrot it was going to be a two-week deal, and it went a lot farther than two weeks," Montoya said. "So we laid some people off and we brought everybody back, so we're in that process again to navigate where we go from here."

While operating in the less restrictive red tier -- indoor fitness centers in Fresno County were allowed to operate at 10% capacity.

Now, Fit Republic and other gyms like it will remain shut down until state health officials say otherwise.

"The governor decided that it's really easy for a small business to just close the doors for a little while and then turn it back on someday like it's a light switch, but it's much more difficult than that. There's a lot of ramifications behind it."

The owner of Fit Republic says his gym will stop collecting membership fees while they are shutdown.

Members of other gyms are encouraged to reach out to those facilities for more information about the status of their memberships and payments.
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