No cardio? Santa Clara County gyms hit with major limitation as they prepare to reopen

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ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Friday, July 10, 2020
No cardio? Santa Clara County gyms hit with major limitation as they prepare to reopen
Gyms in Santa Clara County are preparing to reopen, but with one major limitation. No cardio allowed.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Health officials in Santa Clara County issued a mandatory directive for gyms and fitness facilities, outlining what they can and cannot do upon reopening on Monday.

But some of the guidelines are now causing confusion and frustration among business owners.

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Strenuous activity must be done outdoors, according to county officials, who also say cardio activities, including calisthenics and dancing, are no longer allowed inside because it could encourage people to take off their face coverings.

"A lack of continuity creates frustration, it creates a further distrust, and it certainly creates a level of anxiety," said Scott Howell, co-owner and founder of Red Dot Fitness in San Jose, who takes issues with the strict rules in comparison to other Bay Area counties.

Fitness professionals, like Howell, understand the need for the guidelines, but say the county should have a little more faith in business owners to operate in a safe manner.

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"The last thing we want is for somebody to come in and get sick. That compromises what it is we're trying to do. We're about health and wellness," said Howell.

In a statement, a county spokesperson told ABC7 News that the "Use of cardio/aerobic equipment indoors is strongly discouraged as it is hard to imagine it being used in a manner that doesn't induce heavy breathing or an elevated heartbeat. If equipment such as a treadmill is used for anything beyond a slow walk, it must be located outside with proper social distancing."

So, for the time being, this means clients won't be able to break a sweat on treadmills, bikes, or elliptical machines indoors, because according to county standards, it would be in violation of the directive, if a person's heartbeat were to become elevated as a result of the exercise.

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"That's going to be very independent for each individual and at what point is too much as far as an increased respiratory rate," said Red Dot Fitness co-owner CeCe English, who added that she would abide by the rules in good faith. "We're going to do what we need to do as far as the county is telling us what to do, so that we can service our clients and our community the best that we can."

In addition to face coverings and social distancing being required, gyms and fitness facilities won't be able to make lockers or showers available for client use.

"I'm just excited and I just can't wait to see people again, you know, be around people, because I've been social distancing," said Crossfit X-treme Athletics owner and founder Neal Maddox. "I'm going to keep the intensity down a little bit to build people back up, but I'll have spaces outside where people can workout."

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