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Santa Barbara gyms close due to coronavirus concerns, some play by ear

Blake DeVine/KEYT
In an effort to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Fitness 19 has instructed its team to take extra cleaning precautions.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Gyms across the country continue to close over fears they could spread the Coronavirus. 

On Tuesday, both Gold's Gym and 24 Hour Fitness decided to close their gyms due to the order from Governor Gavin Newsom to cease operations of health clubs.

Nevertheless, a handful of Santa Barbara’s fitness centers remain open. 

While medical experts agree that gyms are a great place to get exercise, there are growing concerns that COVID-19 could quickly spread inside these facilities. 

However, this doesn’t seem to be stopping many locals from working out.

“A lot of us are working from home now,” Santa Barbara resident Amy Lashmet said. “It is kind of my only opportunity to get out of the house and move around.”

In an effort to prevent potentially spreading the virus, Fitness 19 manager Joe Garcia is instructing his team to take extra cleaning precautions.

“We want to show people that we care about the cleanliness here,” Garcia said. “This means making sure they see our team cleaning the weights, re-racking, doing team cleans and wiping down the machines.”

Their work is not going unnoticed by clients. 

“I’ve been noticing that they’re cleaning a lot more,” Lashmet. “I’ve also noticed the cleaning crew coming in multiple times throughout the day.”

Many machines, weights and other equipment can be covered in germs at the gym. With this in mind, the best way to help prevent the virus can be as simple as repeatedly wiping things down.

“Honestly as long as they keep it clean and people are on the go cleaning probably every hour, I feel like people should be fine,” Westmont College student Adriana Perez said.

On Monday, Los Angeles County announced that all gyms would be closed in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

While this rule has yet to be implemented locally, Garcia is a strong believer that his gym should stay open throughout the crisis. 

“It’s very important to stay open because a lot of people are getting stressed and they’re getting anxiety because of the virus that’s going on,” Garcia said. “The gym is what cures the anxiety and stress.”

Customers had a mixed reaction when asked what they would do if gyms were closed.

“I’m really happy that they’ve stayed open,” Lashmet said. “I don’t know what I’d do if they weren’t here.”

“I would have to go workout at home and go on YouTube to figure out how to be active because there’s no other option,” Perez concluded.

Whether all gyms will be forced to temporarily close remains to be seen. A decision on this matter is expected sooner rather than later. 

This article has been updated with new information.

Community / Coronavirus / Health / Home / Safety

Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12 and KKFX My Fox 11