VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KABC) -- A gym in Victorville opened its doors to the public on Friday, despite California's orders to shut down all non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jacob Lewis, the owner of "The Gym," says that he opened "against all my supervisors' instructions" as well as the state's stay-at-home order.
In an Instagram post, Lewis argued that gyms are essential and attract smaller crowds than Costco, Walmart and Target, which are all considered essential under the order.
"There is no reason (why) gyms can't operate under the same protocol. It was a mistake to close gyms and a bigger mistake to keep them closed," he said.
Lewis says he made the decision to reopen after he determined that gyms are essential to people's mental and physical health.
In a later post, the owner said he's received "overwhelming" support from the public as well as other gyms and businesses across the country.
Officials with the city of Victorville said they are "appalled" by The Gym's decision to reopen, but noted enforcement lies with the San Bernardino County health department.
The city of Victorville issued a statement that read in part: "Like so many in our community, we are appalled by The Gym's egregious violation of the Order issued by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. This violation demonstrates disregard for public health and our City and County efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We strongly encourage community members to continue to comply with the Health Order to protect themselves and our Victorville Community. Bottom line, we recommend community members stay away from any place that is operating in violation of the County Health Order."
The city said it reported the violation to the county health department on Friday and received permission for city code enforcement to issue a notice of violation to the business. The gym now has three days to comply and if not, the county will take additional action.
Last week, a hair salon in Corona also reopened despite Riverside County stay-at-home orders, noting that stylists don't qualify for federal business loans.