Over 16,000 people call on the Governor to reopen fitness centers amid health equity crisis

Over 16,000 Californians have sent emails to Governor Gavin Newsom asking for indoor fitness centers to be reopened and to stay open with capacity limits across all four tiers. Currently there is no access to indoor fitness in the Purple Tier, leaving thousands without options for safe exercise if they cannot afford a home gym and are unable to workout outside. Outdoor exercise is not feasible for many due to safety concerns, poor air quality and weather.

“I have had asthma for as long as I can remember, overall the gym has helped with me maintaining a healthy lifestyle and controlling my asthma. Running outside isn’t an option for me and with gyms closed I can’t run on a treadmill and get my lungs the exercise they need.” – Gio Cruz, who is one of the over 16,000 people who emailed the Governor.

The closure of accessible safe exercise has started a health equity crisis in many communities that are already disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

  • Lockdowns have led to 32% reduction in physical activity among individuals who were physically active.
  • In California, physical inactivity is the highest among Black and Latino residents, at 23% and 27%, respectively.
  • Infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists have come together to raise their concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the closures.
  • 53% of US adults reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to the coronavirus and 1 in 4 young adults have also contemplated suicide during the pandemic.
  • California is on it’s own in the nation in terms of fitness center closures. New York Governor Cuomo said that gyms and fitness centers that are allowed to be open are seeing fewer cases of COVID-19. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that there were no outbreaks from indoor fitness and reopened that states fitness centers as well.

This release was recently featured on the Orange County Breeze.