Increased COVID-19 restrictions are once again requiring some businesses to move operations outdoors, but not everyone is on board and hundreds of community members are taking a stand in support of them.
Many business owners throughout the Central Coast feel their businesses are essential and they’re doing whatever they can to make it that way.
“These aren’t luxury businesses, these businesses are about preventive health care,” said Mindbody co-founder Blake Beltram, who says that’s the main reason for starting the Wellness Coalition.
In less than a week, more than 30 businesses and 400 citizens have jumped on board, agreeing that these fitness centers and yoga studios should be considered essential.
“They strengthen your physical body, they make you more mentally fit at a time when we’re seeing a mental health crisis as well,” Beltram said.
Stephanie Stackhouse, owner of SLO Yoga Center, said, “For us to be able to provide an outlet to them so they can still stay healthy, both mentally and physically, but also get that feeling of community connection is, I think, essential right now.”
“We know that the services provided are beneficial, they’re preventative health care and we know that we can provide them safely because we’ve been doing it,” said another of the coalition’s founders, Nathan Zimmerman of Sleeping Tiger Fitness & Martial Arts in San Luis Obispo.
When asked about businesses not adhering to the latest restrictions, the County of San Luis Obispo said in a statement to KSBY on Monday:
We understand that the State's changes to our Blueprint tier status last week came sooner than any of us were expecting. We focused last week on informing businesses about the change and giving them time to adapt to the new requirements because we know that not all businesses can turn on a dime and make the necessary changes to provide outdoor-only services. However, we do expect businesses to comply and will continue to take steps to enforce the State's order.
"Hopefully the support from the coalition allows us to move forward and provide the services we’re providing," Stackhouse said.
"What we’re really asking the authoritative bodies to do is take a look at the data and research we present on the site. We really think any reasonable, rational person including the authorities that look at this will see that these business are preventive healthcare," Beltram said.
For more information on the Wellness Coalition, click here.