TORRANCE, Calif. — Fitness is a way of life for David Fisher, owner of Powerhouse Gym in Torrance. It’s also how he makes a living. Despite city, county, and state health orders mandating that indoor gyms remain closed, Fisher is adamant that his business needs to stay open.

“I spent 10 years putting my life into this business and they want to take it away from me, and that’s not right,” he said.

What You Need To Know

  • Powerhouse Gym in Torrance reopened indoor services on June 1 despite city, county, and state health orders

  • Members are asked to wipe down equipment after use, but mask requirement us not enforced inside

  • The business has received substantial fines and legal action by the county

  • Non-compliant businesses can be fined $100-$500 with a 30-day permit suspension

Like most small businesses, Fisher closed his gym when he was first required to. But as weeks turned into months - without an end in sight - he felt that he had to make a choice.

“At 11 weeks I said, 'that’s it.' If I stay closed any longer, I won’t have a business anymore,” Fisher said.

Powerhouse Gym resumed business on June 1, according to Fisher, and has remained open ever since. Inside, dozens of members can be seen working out without a mask. Fisher shared that he doesn’t enforce the use of masks at his gym because of breathing difficulties it can create.

Fisher also claims that his gym has not been linked to any COVID-19 cases. County health officials stated that they are unable to determine where a person contracts the virus, aside from reported outbreaks. Powerhouse Gym was not listed as a reported outbreak location at the time of this story.

But what Fisher has seen is substantial fines and legal action that he’s determined to keep paying if it means keeping his doors open. While he wouldn’t say how much it’s cost him, the L.A. County Department of Public Health outlines citations for non-compliant businesses as a $100 fine for the first offense, and up to $500 dollars and a 30 -day permit suspension for multiple offenses.

While Fisher’s gym remains open on its own terms, health experts like Dr. Christina Ghaly with the L.A. County Department of Health Services have been urging the public to stay home.

“We’re at about 700 admissions per day, plus or minus for COVID," Dr. Ghaly said. "Several fold of what a typical flu season would be and again, that’s affecting every hospital across the entire nation and that puts immense stress on what the hospitals are experiencing."

While the gym continues to face legal action and fines, Fisher said he’ll keep fighting for his business.

“They are saying certain businesses are essential. Well, who is deciding what’s essential? This is essential to me. It’s essential to my members. It’s essential to my employees,” he said.

Until restrictions on indoor gyms are lifted, Fisher plans to keep his small business on track to recover the cost of what was lost.