Workout centers in this Sunshine State county are being put on notice. Mayor Jerry Demings just called out Orange County gyms during a press conference on July 9. He cited that some are flaunting the COVID-19 rules put into place.
“We’re going to appeal to gym owners and managers that they must make some adjustments in what they’re doing because we have received reports that many of our gyms are not adhering to the social distancing guidelines," Demings said Thursday evening. “The gyms are crowded, and in most cases, many of them are not wearing masks.”
Under phase 2 of the state's recovery plan, gyms across Florida can't operate at more than a 50% capacity. All members must also wear masks while inside and practice social distancing.
However, Demings, with Dr. Raul Pino from the Orange County Department of Health in tow, visited some gyms and noticed they were not following the mitigation measures put into place.
The mayor pleaded with gym owners for compliance with the rules, suggesting that criminal penalties could be issued for gyms still not playing by the rules.
Today Dr. Pino encouraged @OrangeCoFL gym owners and managers to adhere to the state and CDC #covid19 guidelines t… https://t.co/QLnBAz5DNE— GOHealthyOrange (@GOHealthyOrange)1594340020.0
"We're going to use every tool that we can again to fight back against the virus," Demings added."My appeal, always, is to gain voluntary compliance before we start looking at penalizing people, invoking criminal sanctions, but we want compliance there."
Due to the complaints and witnessing the non-compliance on themselves, the region is stepping up gym inspections.
The county's health department will team up with the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation to do surprise inspections of gyms, focusing on those that have received the most complaints.
Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption… https://t.co/p1BVqRImo5— Florida DBPR (@Florida DBPR)1593184435.0
The increased enforcement comes with Orange County, and the state as a whole, seeing a dramatic increase in novel coronavirus cases. Some counties in Florida have taken restrictive measures to try to tame the spread.
The state has shown some willingness to roll back parts of phase 2 of businesses that don't comply with the new COVID-19 rules.
Last month, the DBPR halted all on-site alcohol consumption.
As of Friday, Orange County currently has 15,869 confirmed COVID-19 cases.