EUGENE, Ore. – A gym owner in Eugene has decided to stay open despite Gov. Kate Brown’s two-week freeze.
Jon Joseph owns ReNA Fitness, which has gained some notoriety on social media lately due to some anti-mask signs Joseph posted to his studio’s front doors. The signs claim some scientific data indicates masks are ineffective.
“If I don’t want to wear a mask it's up to me, if you want to wear a mask you can wear a mask it's up to you, if your mask works then you don’t have to worry about me wearing a mask if it doesn’t work then why are you wearing a mask,” said Joseph.
Local and national health officials continue to urge the public to wear masks in public as one of the most important ways of helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Joseph said he plans to stay open for as long as he can, especially when the liquor store next-door to his studio is allowed to be open during the freeze.
"If they're going to shut it down, shut everything down. It's not fair to keep liquor stores, pot stores open and closed down gyms and exercise places where if I don't want to wear a mask, it's up to me," Joseph said.
Joseph says Governor Brown has no right to shut his studio down, so rather than closing down during every freeze or mandate, he hired a constitutional attorney to fight what he calls the good fight.
"I want to keep going forward, I want to fight because I think I have the right, because I think other businesses have the right to fight, we have a right to be open, we have a right to provide for our families, we have a right to keep our business going."
Joseph still has many clients that come into ReNA Fitness to participate in his class, with the class size being no more than 7 people usually. One of his long time clients, Mandy Fisher, doesn't agree with the shutdown of all gyms and fitness studios.
"Listen we followed the rules, and now we're at our breaking point, where the money that we need to make to at least keep our doors open, keep our overhead, keep the rent going, those are all really important factors," Fisher said, "it's just a different situation, we're not a gym, we don't have any equipment, we don't stay in there for hours at a time, we're in there for a half-hour max and then we're all out of there."
Last week the Associated Press reported that Courthouse Club Fitness in Salem has been fined $90,000 for defying Brown’s freeze order. The fine is from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration and comes after citations at each of the four facilities operated by the company.
Before the statewide freeze went into effect on Nov. 18, gym owner John Miller said in a statement that a second shutdown would push his business to the breaking point, the AP reported.