Coronavirus: Boutique gyms in Southern California ask to be reclassified amid shutdown

The City of Pasadena says gyms are not allowed to operate under the governor's current order.
PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- CrossFit Crown City is fighting against being grouped in with larger gym restrictions. The owner wants the opportunity to show his small gym can meet all guidelines and be an ally in the battle for a healthy Pasadena.

Eight years ago, J.B. Fitts opened CrossFit Crown City, a small fitness studio in Pasadena.

"Everyday you wake up there's a different type of feeling in your stomach. Some days I just want to be sick, I'm so scared," he said.

Now, after being closed for 10 weeks amid the coronavirus emergency, Fitts says they're ready reopen -- and they can do it safely.

"To be shutdown during this time, it's not even the financial burden it puts you in, it just hurts not being able to work with your community," Fitts said.

Drew Girton owns Pendulum Fitness, a different CrossFit studio, but is teaming up with Fitts, asking the state and local leaders to understand the difference between big corporate gyms and the kind the studios they operate.

"It's a smaller class experience. We don't see class sizes exceed 20, 20 plus, at least in my gym," Girton said.

"We can run more classes throughout the day and actually reduce class size. We can create 45 minute-classes with 15 minute sanitation periods in between classes. We can make that class exit before the next class enters. We have a lot of control on how we run this place," Fitts said.

The City of Pasadena says gyms are not allowed to operate under the governor's current order, while also recognizing the importance of the public's physical and mental well being.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the City says:

"We know there is a significant financial impact on businesses and we will advocate on behalf of the boutique type fitness centers where there is more accountability to monitor appointment times and smaller classes versus the larger, chain gyms where it may be harder to control numbers and one on one equipment."

"We get it's a lot but we appreciate them making the effort to do that, that's amazing," Fitts said.

And for now, it's a start.

"I don't know the mayor, I don't have a direct line to anyone. This is my plea just to be part of the conversation, that's all I want to do. Let us have a chance to show how we are different and how we can maybe do this the right way."

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