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Central Coast fitness centers respond to prolonged outdoor operation during pandemic

Posted at 9:56 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 14:06:41-04

Working out outdoors in parks and parking lots has become the norm for many people during the pandemic.

That trend looks to continue indefinitely for local gyms and fitness centers after Governor Gavin Newsom gave no update Friday on indoor operations for this business sector.

As August comes to an end, concern for continuing outdoors rises among the fitness community.

"When people before the pandemic decided not to do anything it would be well, I'll blow it off. I'll blow it off for a day, a week, a month, whatever. Now when people blow it off, they're not moving," said Bill Grundler, founder of Crossfit Infero SLO.

Others, like some people exercising at Emerson Park in San Luis Obispo Sunday, said they like the transition to outdoor fitness.

“Outdoor stuff like this is good, it’s really the best I’ve gotten during the pandemic," said Josh Winkleblech, a San Luis Obispo resident.

The California Fitness Alliance issued a statement Friday noting their effort to work with Newsom, demonstrating that under safety protocols, fitness centers nationally had a 'visits-to-virus' ratio of 42,731 to 1.

The outdoor option makes sense to some athletes.

“People are breathing hard and you're all sweating and it's just a lot of movement going on. So, I do understand why they're preferring us to stay outside," said Marina Graves, a Creston resident.

Some gym owners, however, don't agree with grouping gyms together.

While getting a workout in may be tough during the pandemic, whether outdoors or online, the SLO Wellness map provides options for health outlets in the community.

"There's something about even that live stream format that keeps you coming to your mat. There's an accountability built in, where like, you could go on YouTube and find a yoga class for free, but there's no one expecting you to be there," said Stephanie Stackhouse, co-owner of the SLO Yoga Center.

The studio owner said she has been able to operate her business in a virtual format and wants to ensure her employees are 100% ready before be back indoors for good.

"We just want to make sure that when we open, we can stay open because it's really hard to go through the effort to get open and then have to close again," she said.