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Local Gym Owners Sue State, Local Officials Over Pandemic Restrictions

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

Eight San Diego County gyms have filed a lawsuit against various state and local leaders, which challenges public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Diego federal court says the stay-at-home orders have caused "widespread and catastrophic damage to the California economy" and that the gym owners have had "difficulty in satisfying their financial obligations, having been forced to lay off a significant number of employees."

Plaintiffs include the Metroflex Gym in Oceanside, owned by Oceanside mayoral candidate Louis Uridel, who was arrested earlier this year for keeping his gym open in defiance of the county's coronavirus restrictions, and the Ramona Fitness Center, owned by Peter San Nicolas, the first local business owner criminally charged with violating the state's shutdown orders by keeping the gym's doors open.


RELATED: After Defying Public Health Rules, San Diego Gym Will Likely Pay Zero In Fines

Other gyms involved in the suit include Boulevard Fitness in University Heights, Deadweight Strength in Grantville, Convoy Strength in Kearny Mesa, IB Fitness in Imperial Beach, and Being Fit in both Clairemont and Mira Mesa.

The gym owners claim the health orders have forced them to spend thousands of dollars to restructure their businesses to comply with health orders, and that their businesses have lost extensive revenue as a result of the closure orders.

Defendants named in the suit run the gamut of state and local leadership, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, all five San Diego County supervisors, the mayors of each city where the gyms are located and various local law enforcement and public health officials.

Among their claims, the owners allege the public health orders are unconstitutional for failing to provide the gyms with a procedure to challenge whether their businesses are nonessential, and that mandatory closures violate their rights under both the U.S. and California constitutions.

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