A judge has issued a preliminary injunction against a Torrance gym owner, directing him to refrain from indoor operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel handed down the ruling Friday against David Fischer, the owner of Powerhouse Gym. The judge had issued a temporary restraining order against Fischer on Dec. 9. Both orders were requested by lawyers for Los Angeles County and the Department of Public Health.
“These restrictions on indoor operations at fitness facilities have the object of preventing the airborne transmission of COVID-19 and to protect public health and public safety from a contagious disease,” Strobel wrote. “The restriction has a real and substantial relation to achieving its purpose.”
Strobel said she was not moved by Fischer’s argument that the approval of a vaccines has reduced the danger of the pandemic.
“Powerhouse has not shown that the approval of a vaccine has reduced the danger such that indoor fitness activities do not create a public health threat,” Strobel said.
By allowing indoor fitness activities, the Los Angeles County health orders are violated, creating a “heightened threat to the public health and a strong likelihood of imposing additional and substantial burdens on medical care providers” in the county, according to Strobel.
The judge said she was sympathetic to Fischer’s concern about the impact of the restrictions on his business.
“Powerhouse indisputably suffers some economic harm from the ban on indoor fitness activities,” the judge wrote. “. This harm is lessened somewhat by the fact the ban is temporary and because Powerhouse can shift some of its operations to its outdoor spaces. The evidence of the increased danger to public health created by indoor fitness activities substantially outweighs this financial effect on the defendant’s business.”
In support of their arguments for enjoining the Powerhouse Gym’s indoor operations, county lawyers offered a declaration from Department of Public Health inspector Arsenio Argel. He said he made his 10th inspection of the Powerhouse Gym on Nov. 24.
“I arrived at Powerhouse at 9:45 a.m. and observed at least two dozen patrons exercising inside the facilities in violation of the health and closure orders,” Argel said of the Hawthorne Boulevard facility.
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