RIVERSIDE, Calif. — No matter how sanitized their workout machines are, Planet Fitness — among other gyms and businesses in Riverside County — will be forced to close their doors again this Friday because the county took a step back into the purple tier designation of coronavirus regulations.

What You Need To Know

  • Riverside County has been pushed back into the purple tier COVID-19 regulations designation

  • Corona based Gym owner Ryan Gallagher says his facility offers plenty of space for social distancing, and thinks there are better ways to regulate businesses

  • His Planet Fitness gym will be forced to shut down this Friday (10/23), affecting 120 employees

  • Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel is frustrated with the tier system and believes efforts should be focused on vulnerable communities first

Gym owner Ryan Gallagher said the restrictions do not seem reasonable.

“It’s obviously economically unstable, but it doesn’t feel fair either for our employees or for our members that want to come in here for their mental and physical health,” Gallagher said.

His large location in Corona, which is currently at 10% capacity in the red tier, allows for extensive social distancing — giving members the ability to work out and take off the some of the mental stress the pandemic has caused.

“We have the ability to social distance people, and there is a way to do this safely,” Gallagher said.

Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel agrees with Gallagher. Supervisor Spiegel believes there are safe solutions that do not have to harm businesses directly.

“Focusing on protecting those that are more vulnerable, but allowing those that are moving forward, and are healthy, to ease back into life,” she said.

Governor Newsom’s new equity metric, which addresses both testing and positivity rates, is affecting tier designations and frustrating leaders like Supervisor Spiegel.

“Well it started out as disappointed, led to frustration, and then anger. I’m just angry that our residents, our businesses, are constantly being hurt by this,” she explained.

With many cleaning stations in his gym, Gallagher feels the limitations on some industries versus others just do not seem to make sense. 

“I think when you think about it, someone can fly across the country for six hours and be three to five inches away from someone else, but we can’t have them work out in a gym for 45 minutes, in a facility like this, where there’s an airplane in between them,” he said.

With a ceiling 20 feet above him, noting the healthy air filtration systems, Gallagher hopes Governor Newsom will reconsider the regulations that are hurting industries like his.

While much of the nation is seeing a spike in the number of cases and hospitalizations, California is not. State health officials credit the tiered ranking system and the restrictions that go with it — for keeping the state’s positive test rate low.