Federal Judge denies request from San Diego gym owners to reopen

Written by Amanda Angulo

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bencivengo, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, has denied the request of 25 San Diego County gyms to resume indoor operations. 

Gyms across the state have had to close down due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, the gyms and fitness centers argue that the use of gyms helps people improve their physical and mental health, something that is very important during the ongoing pandemic.

For the past eleven months, COVID-19 lockdowns have severely impacted the mental health of many individuals, and keeping gyms closed only perpetuates those problems. California is the only state in the country that has not given the green light for indoor gyms to reopen.

Representing the gyms and fitness centers, Charlotte Najar argued that the pandemic’s restrictions are violations of our freedoms. In addition, she reassured that gyms would reopen safely by establishing protocols such as mask mandates. 

Judge Bencivengo rejected the argument of violations of our freedoms and claimed that there was no balance of public interests that favored the gyms. Bencivengo’s decision will allow businesses to continue to hurt and further the harmful mental and physical effects of the pandemic.

“Challenging COVID-related restrictions, given the unique risks of gatherings and spreading COVID-19 … the court finds that enjoining the state and county’s restrictions on plaintiffs’ gatherings and plaintiffs’ businesses would not be in the public’s interest,” Bencivengo claimed.

Earlier this month, over 22,000 football fans were able to attend the Superbowl in person. COVID-19 cases in the Tampa area, where the Superbowl was hosted, have been declining since the end of 2020 and continued to decline even after the Superbowl.

It is unclear whether the gyms and fitness centers will seek an appeal to the ruling, but the fight to reopen businesses and gyms must continue, as it will help improve the physical and mental health of the public and allow us to return to the normal life that so many people are longing for.

Photo via Healthline