University Heights gym to stay open despite governor’s order


SAN DIEGO — While some businesses are shutting their doors, others are pivoting to try to stay open.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered indoor operations at gyms, houses of worship, hair salons and other businesses to shut down by midnight Tuesday.

But the owner of Boulevard Fitness in University Heights is refusing to close his gym, even if it means switching up his business model.

“We measured out right around 6 to 6 1/2 feet per machine,” owner Shawn Gilbert said. “There are not many people on top of each other.”

Gilbert’s business has gone through many changes to adhere to public health guidelines and keep customers safe. The gym is operating at 40% of capacity and requires temperatures checks and masks at the door. He says he does not plan to shut back down.

“This is how I put food on my table,” Gilbert said. “This is how I pay my bills. This is how my staff pay their bills, put food on their table. It’s a giant snowball effect.”

Gilbert says he took a major financial hit during the last shut down and can’t afford to take another one.

“I have to believe we are essential,” Gilbert said. “And no one is going to tell me any different.”

He says he understands the intention behind the order to slow the spread of coronavirus but he doesn’t believe gyms are a major cause of the spike in cases. 

“Everyone that exchanges machines here wipe things down,” client Alyssa Logrande said. ”Everybody is sanitizing.” 

Logrande is relieved the gym will stay open because fitness is what she says is keeping her healthy.

“This helps me immensely so I can only imagine how this helps others,” Logrande said.

The gym has an outdoor area measuring roughly 1,000 square feet, which Gilbert says he will try work with to keep his business open. Gilbert says he knows he risks being fined anywhere between $50 and $1,000, but is willing to pay the price.

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