The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to simplify the process for fitness businesses to apply for permits to conduct exercise classes and activities in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gyms and other fitness facilities have been closed since March 15 under the Los Angeles Safer at Home Order. The closures have forced some businesses to begin mass layoffs of instructors and trainers while gyms and studios consider permanently shutting their doors, the motion stated.
Councilman Mike Bonin, who authored the motion, said it could be a way to help people stay healthy, as many Angelenos have been mostly staying at home for nearly three months since the start of the Safer at Home order.
“It’s also particularly impactful for not just the small business owners … but it is impactful for the independent contractors,” Bonin said. “Most of the people who do training in gyms, most of the people who conduct yoga classes, most of the people who are personal trainers are all independent contractors.”
Bonin said people can currently apply for permits for outdoor exercise instruction at public parks, but he called it a “complicated process” and said he wants the city’s Recreation and Parks Department to simplify the process.
California is currently in Phase 2 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 reopening plan, but gyms and similar businesses will not be allowed to re-open until Phase 3, which may not arrive for months, the councilman stated.
Bonin’s motion directs the Recreation and Parks Department to simplify the process for the fitness businesses in ways that do not conflict with demand for general public use.
Such a process should offer discounted rates or allow deferred initial payments for permits, Bonin said.
The motion also requests the Department of General Services to provide a list of city-owned properties that might be appropriate for outdoor fitness classes.
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