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Contra Costa County gyms fined for operating indoors

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — COVID-19 health order violations are resulting in fines in Contra Costa County.

KRON4’s Philippe Djegal reports three gyms and an indoor pool establishment have been fined a total of $2,500.

Diablo Crossfit in Pleasant Hill closed down for three months during the pandemic.

And, resumed welcoming members back indoors in September once poor air quality from wildfire smoke made exercising outdoors unhealthy.

And owner Craig Howard says so far that decision has worked out.

“Since Sept. 15, we’ve had more than 10,000 visits to our gym. Unique visits where people come in and take a class,” Howard said. “In 10,000 visits, we’ve had zero cases of COVID reported to us.”

Still, operating indoors — against state and county health orders — comes at a cost.

“Diablo has been fined three times so far, and it’s escalated each time,” Howard said.

All three notices of violation have been issued by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office COVID-19 Task Force in the past two weeks, totaling $1,750 in fines.

Fitness 19 in Danville and in Concord were fined $250 each on Nov. 24.

An indoor pool has also been fined $250 for operating without consent.

Howard says his members support him and the health measures he has implemented: extreme social distancing, constant sanitation and prohibiting shared equipment.

“We have fresh air circulating through our gym regularly. We have large, two large roll-up garage doors that are 15 feet, 20 feet wide,” Howard said. “We have 20 foot ceilings and negative pressure air ventilation. so, everything in this gym goes up and out.”

The district attorney’s office says it is just enforcing the law.

“We’ve received over 900 complaints since March for shelter-in-place violations,” Spokesperson Scott Alonso said. “Certainly, a lot even in the month of November, which a lot of folks are concerned.”

All in all, Howard says he’s doing his best to keep all visitors safe and healthy — and his employees employed.

In the meantime, he intends to maintain his current operations and is expecting more fines.

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