Kern Country sees the second day of increased covid cases leaving businesses concerned

Kern Country sees the second day of increased covid cases leaving businesses concerned
Posted at 12:40 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 03:40:18-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For the second day in a row, Kern County has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases, leaving many businesses like Body Xchange Gyms concerned for the future.

There are six Body Xchange gyms throughout Bakersfield and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been greatly impacted after having to close down their gyms from March 18 through June 8.

Now, churches, salons, shopping malls, and gyms could have to close again.

After, Kern County landed on California's monitoring watchlist on Saturday.

On Sunday, the county didn’t meet the state's metrics for a second day.

Leaving many like John Ovanessian, president of Body Xchange with many questions.

"You want to pay your rent about 10% of your gross revenue, gyms typically 30 percent of your revenue is going towards rent," Ovanessian said. "Where typically in retail you want to be at 10% and that’s at pre-covid. So it's catastrophically impacted us no matter what."

The county's COVID-19 tracker shows Sunday with 719 new cases making this the highest one-day positive case increase in the county thus far.

On Saturday, the county saw 495 positive cases.

23ABC reached out to the Kern County Public Health Department (asking) what this could mean for businesses if we remain on the monitoring list.

In a statement, the department said, “counties that have remained on the County Monitoring List for three consecutive days-- will be required to shut down the following industries or activities (gyms, salons, shopping malls, and churches). Unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up."

Ovanessian expressing this may not be possible for his industry.

"We have some businesses that can take their stuff outside, but we don’t have that option," Ovanessian said.

"Certainly, if we did we could possibly do it, but I think in the city like Bakersfield where during this time of year where it’s 100°, it's not so safe."

The gym like many other businesses have established strict rules and regulations.

Some of those rules include social distancing, workout time blocks, and mandatory temperature checks.

According to Ovanessian, his gyms are only using 19 percent of capacity.

When we asked Ovanessian about another possible closure, he had this to say.
"You just need that release and I think gyms across the country are 100% essential, it’s needed," Ovanessian said.

"We haven’t seen or heard any facts that gyms are contributing to [covid] whatsoever and we are abiding by all the guidelines."

According to the public health department, they shared "once the county is on the watchlist for three days-- it’s to their understanding that the new restrictions would apply to Kern, which would be effective on July 24.