San Jose fitness center defies pandemic health order

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – Despite returning to the slightly less restrictive purple tier under the state’s health order, fitness centers are still prohibited from operating indoors.

In open defiance of the order despite complaints and thousands of dollars in fines is California Ripped Fitness in San Jose.

The fitness center off east capitol expressway has been warned and fined many times but is still open and the dispute may be headed for court. 

East San Jose’s California Ripped Fitness is making no bones about defying health orders that say it cannot operate indoors. 

There are signs out front that claim constitutional protection. 

Ripped Fitness remains open despite at least 35 complaints that it is a threat to public health says the county’s, Michael Balliet.

“It’s really unfortunate that the business owner continues to violate the health officer order, when many other businesses of a similar type are doing the right thing and protecting their customers,” Balliet said.

A manager said the owner would not comment on the complaints after being warned several times having racked up nearly a half-million dollars in fines. 

Clients on cardio and other machines appeared to be using masks and physical distancing and several patrons applauded the gym’s defiance, including Javier Hernandez.

“It’s not as crazy as people make it seem, I’d rather be here than be somewhere like Walmart where it’s more chaotic, people are just here trying to get healthy,” Hernandez said.

Ssigns on the front door question health orders that make it easy for people to access alcohol and tobacco but not exercise. 

The gym’s invoking its constitutional rights may well be tested if the county pursues legal action but as long as it remains open, officials say Ripped Fitness is putting its patrons and others at risk and may be contributing to an already high rate of infection in East San Jose.

“I think many folks know that East San Jose, and in particular the Latinx community, has been one of the hardest impacted, and because of its location, it certainly can increase the possibility for transmission in an indoor environment,” Balliet said.

The county is now considering its options, one of which could be legal action.

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