BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With Kern now on the monitoring list places like gyms are having to close down, but one local chain has decided to remain open here in Bakersfield despite the governor's orders.
Body Xchange announcing that they will remain open, claiming they are an essential business, but one gym owner is saying this isn't fair for those that have closed down.
"You know it's not my place to judge them. I would appreciate that they would follow the same rules that the rest of us are following," said Tim Gojich, Owner, Fit for Life in Downtown Bakersfield.
Gojich said his facility along with many others, has been following the state's closure rules only to find out that more and more gyms are keeping their doors open.
Body Xchange being the latest to defy governor Gavin Newsom's order.
In a statement, the president of Body Xchange said:
We decided to stay open because we feel 100% we are an essential business. We have followed all the guidelines set forth to safely operate. We’ve also closed other amenities such as lockerrooms, showers, and aerobics that were not mandated to close to add safety to our clubs. We’ve been 100% compliant and have not been made aware that fitness clubs have contributed to the spikes anywhere.
Last but not least...People need exercise for the health and mental well being. Especially in times like now.
Also we want to be treated fairly which we don’t feel is the case with how decisions are being made.
We can’t control what’s going on outside our gym, but we do and can control what’s happening inside and we are safe and essential!
Gojich also believes that exercise is essential for the well-being of his members but said it's unfair that some in his industry are able to profit while those that remain closed continue to struggle.
"We did get a loan to stay in business. This really without a doubt was the only reason I was able to operate in the last month. We did not get enough members back when reopened the gym to be able to pay our rent, for me to pay all our staff."
In Southwest Bakersfield, the National Academy of Strength and Power is still welcoming members. So why are more gyms deciding to stay open?
Gojich believes the trend started when the Strength and Health Gym off 21st Street kept it's doors open during the first round of closures.
The owner Mark Pacheco having no problem in admitting that, while also congratulating Body Xchange for following suit.
"Well I'd like to think that I'm the one that set the trend in the present for them in doing so. well good for them. I applaud them. At least they have the courage to stand up and the right thing," Pacheco said.
Back in April, Pacheco received a few health and safety citations for keeping his doors open during the first round of closures, but since then no further consequences. This is something that Gojich says contributes to other businesses following suit.