San Juan Capistrano boxing gym reopens in defiance of coronavirus orders

Local News

The founder of a boxing gym in San Juan Capistrano has reopened his business in violation of statewide coronavirus rules, saying it was an act of desperation.

Capistrano Boxing Gym in the Plaza Del Obispo shopping center reopened Monday after being shut down since stay-home orders were first issued in March. Peter Carey, its founder, said it was the only way his struggling business could stay afloat.

“The longer we wait, every day we’re losing money,” he said. “It really just comes down to saving the gym.”

The gym paused monthly fees, but around 40% of its members still canceled their memberships, Carey said.

“They haven’t told us, pause your rent,” he said. “Even our marketing company’s coming asking us for money. So everybody’s still coming at us. It’s going to be very tough to rebound from this.”

The gym is now offering four classes on weekday evenings, and the facility is open to all members 24 hours a day, outside of class time.

Carey says it’s following USA Boxing protocols, which include cleaning down equipment and wearing a mask, eye protection and disposable gloves when appropriate.

“We’ve asked people only to come in only with what they’re working out with… their own gear,” Carey said. “We don’t share gear. We don’t have any of that stuff, and then everything’s basically sanitized after each workout.”

The USA Boxing guidelines also say boxers should stay 6 feet away from each other, but people were seen boxing against each other at the Capistrano gym Tuesday. Although masks were in use, it did not appear those in close contact were using protective eye gear.

Under California’s stay-home orders, gyms are among the businesses classified as higher-risk that won’t be able to open until Phase 3 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan. The state is now in Phase 2.

County supervisors say they plan to ask the state for permission to reopen more businesses as early as this weekend. But even if the request is granted, gyms would almost certainly remain closed.

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