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Oceanside Gym Owner Reopens Again In Violation Of Health Orders

Lou Uridel, the owner of MetroFlex gym in Oceanside, May 13, 2020.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Lou Uridel, the owner of MetroFlex gym in Oceanside, May 13, 2020.

An Oceanside gym owner is gaining support from the community as he reopens his business again, in violation of county health orders.

Lou Uridel and dozens of others gathered outside Metroflex Wednesday, demanding the right to open right now.

"It’s about the right to work and the right to feed your families, and I don’t care if you’re a blue or a red, you have to feed your families," Uridel said.

Some people who showed up to protest coronavirus restrictions had Trump 2020 flags and hats, but Uridel said he did not want this to be about politics.

"I didn’t want it to be about Trump. I didn’t want it to be about [Gov.] Newsom," Uridel said. "I couldn’t stop people from showing up with their signs. It’s their freedom of expression."

RELATED: 'Not Realistic Standards': San Diego Politicians Want To Decide How To Reopen Businesses

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Andi Dukleth

Over the weekend, Uridel was handcuffed and cited for reopening in violation of county health orders. But there was no sign of Oceanside police Wednesday when he opened his gym once again.

"We’re following very strict protocols," Uridel said. "We didn’t get any guidance from California, so kind of following Texas. They limited capacity to 25% so I said, 'Well we’re a liberal state. I’ll make it a little bit stricter, 20%.'"

Gyms will reopen under “Phase 3” of the state’s plan to ease restrictions, but Uridel says he simply cannot wait anymore and he is asking other small business owners to join him in reopening.

"I think it’s the time for small businesses to stand up in the face of the fear of citations or whatever threats that are made," Uridel said. "You have to have the courage to stand up and fight for the right work."

Oceanside police say businesses open in violation of county and state orders are subject to citation.

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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