Sonoma County's new COVID restrictions met with disdain from residents, businesses

"Not a single COVID case has been traced back to our gym. We are not the problem," says one frustrated gym owner.
SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Sonoma County is set to implement new health restrictions Wednesday to help limit the spread of the omicron variant. The county is asking residents to shelter at home voluntarily for 30 days and only go to places for essential reasons, such as a grocery store and doctor's office.

The new rule also has restrictions for gatherings. No more than 100 people can gather outside, and no more than 50 people inside. Business owners are not happy with it.

"It's politics and not science," said Adam Kovacs, the CEO of Sonoma fit. "We have been through too much the last two years. Not a single COVID case has been traced back to our gym. We are not the problem, and we know social gatherings are."

RELATED: Sonoma County urges residents to stay home amid COVID surge

Sonoma County is so far the only Bay Area county to implement a new health order this severe.

Shopping malls, restaurants and office buildings are exempt from the new mandate - gyms, theatres and auditoriums are not.

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The return of indoor mask mandates to the Bay Area, regardless of vaccination status, is frustrating some business owners.

"We have had to postpone some shows, and a few of them are cancelled," said Michele Kappel, the Operations Director for The Lost Church in Santa Rosa. "We had a feeling this was coming. We are just willing to roll with the punches and hope this wave goes away soon so we can get back to gathering again. We want to make sure attendees and artists feel safe."

Sonoma County is implementing the new restrictions as record numbers of COVID cases continue to be reported.

RELATED: Long wait time for COVID testing, limited testing supplies add to frustration in North Bay

However, Kovacs says his gym should not be impacted. He has implemented many COVID restrictions and says it is easy to social distance while at the gym. Plus, he says January is usually his busiest month as people try to get back in shape for the new year.

"Everyone comes in here and they stay to themselves," he said. "January is usually huge. We are being completely robbed a second time."

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