Pilot program allows local gyms to hold fitness classes in SLO city parks

Posted at 6:48 AM, Jul 17, 2020

Despite another round of closures, businesses are still trying to rebound from the first shutdown.

Now that the fitness industry is once again barred from holding indoor classes, local gyms are teaming up with City of San Luis Obispo to take exercise safely outside as part of a new pilot program.

Greg Avakian is the director of San Luis Obispo's Parks & Recreation Department.
"It's been almost four months of being shut down and everybody is hurting in many different ways. What better way than through physical and mental wellness to get outside and have a great time."

The Parks & Rec department recently launched a pilot program to allow gyms to hold fitness classes outside in San Luis Obispo city parks.

"We are really excited to help get our businesses restarted during COVID," Avakian said.

Classes will take place at Meadow, French and Emerson parks.

"This is a good compromise to work with them in a structured format to provide park space to kick-start their programs and their businesses as they reopen," Avakian said.

Equilibrium Fitness for Women is one of the first businesses to get the green-light to take class outside at Meadow Park.

"We'll have the mats all spaced out, socially distanced properly with marks on the lawn," said Equilibrium Fitness owner David Pomfret.

While Pomfret is grateful to be able to hold the outdoor classes, he says they won't make much of a dent in the massive revenue hit his business has taken since quarantine.

"It's a few hours a week but it will allow us to get back in front of our audience and to have that sense of community again," Pomfret said.

To have an outdoor class at a San Luis Obispo park, businesses must already have a license with the city, be approved for a special permit and follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines.

"We do have some noise ordinances and those sorts of things but it's mainly about sanitation and social distancing," Avakian said.

The pilot program runs through the end of August. If you are a fitness business owner interested in joining the program, contact the SLO City Parks & Recreation Department front desk.