Fitness 19 continues to stay open and allow members to exercise even in the purple tier after the state has mandated all gyms to be closed. Ventura County returned to the purple tier on Nov. 16. (Photo Courtesy of Reese Kelem/Prowler)
Newbury Park High School

Opinion: Fitness 19 must comply with county regulations

Fitness 19 on Reino Road has been one of the most popular community centers in Newbury Park since its inception in 2013. Since Ventura County has been moved back into the purple tier, all gyms and fitness centers have been ordered to close down temporarily for the safety of the community, according to a statement issued by the County of Ventura.

However, Fitness 19 has failed to comply with California regulations by allowing its business to run as it did in the red tier, with people sharing equipment and exercising indoors without proper social distancing and mask-wearing, as observed by many community members as well as the Newbury Park High School newspaper staff.

Fitness 19 has an obligation to follow county protocols to keep its members safe. The disregard for public safety that Fitness 19 has shown is dangerous to our community in that it promotes a lack of concern towards the pandemic, potentially affecting community members. 

Upon one of the Newbury Park High School newspaper writers inquiring about the Fitness 19 staying open in a phone call, a gym employee disclosed little information on the subject; however, he said that he was under the impression that Fitness 19 was in a lawsuit with the state, and that they had received a notice from the county.

In another writer’s phone call with a separate employee, the employee mentioned that the manager of the establishment has been trying to avoid the press, despite them reaching out for comment. As with other news sources, the manager of Fitness 19 was not available for comment.

The holiday season is statistically the most profitable time of the year for gyms, according to Barrons.

Gyms such as those operated under Towns Sports International Holdings, an operator of fitness centers, have a major revenue jump at the end of the year. Similarly, Fitness 19 is attempting to cling to its main source of income.

Although an understandable predicament, Fitness 19 is not alone in this matter, like many other businesses whose crucial revenue comes from the holiday season. However, the county’s restrictions under the purple tier involve the closing of businesses for the safety of the public.

Fitness 19 is acting irresponsibly for their own benefit; the reason for staying open is solely for their own financial gains. As a large business, Fitness 19 can pay whatever fine is imposed upon them, since the profit brought in is higher than said fine.

This is an unethical and unsafe advantage that only large businesses have, with others such as Gold’s Gym in Simi Valley and Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Dos Vientos pushing to stay open as well. This contrasts with smaller businesses that cannot afford to stay closed for extended periods of time. These smaller, possibly family-owned businesses have to adjust their typical ways because disregard for the rules is not something they can use to their advantage. 

Fitness 19 is a place frequented by dozens of people, including high schoolers, and as such has an obligation to be compliant with the county’s COVID-19 guidelines.

As a gym that supposedly promotes health, its first concern should be protecting the health of its own members by keeping them safe from the virus — something that the regulations they are ignoring are intended to do.