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Nov 24

Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces served with citation for violating public health order – Las Cruces Sun-News

Leah Romero, Las Cruces Sun-News Published 3:21 p.m. MT Nov. 23, 2020 | Updated 5:21 p.m. MT Nov. 23, 2020

Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.(Photo: Nathan J Fish/Sun-News)

Updated at 5:20 p.m. Nov. 23 with comment from Crunch Fitness' district manager.

LAS CRUCES - Crunch Fitness was served with a notice Saturday of the states intent to fine them $5,000 for remaining open despite the COVID-19 public health order requiring gyms and other nonessential businesses to halt in-person services.

The health order went into effect Nov. 16 and describes gyms as a close-contact business, similar to salons, barbershops, spas and tattoo shops. The state requires these businesses to close to the public and reduce their staff by 100% through Nov. 30 to help halt the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.

However, the gym, near El Paseo Road and Wyatt Drive, was still operating Monday, Nov. 23, with customers going about their exercising as usual. A sign on the door notified those entering that the occupancy limit is 75 people and masks are required.

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Customers inside were spaced out while using the machines and were wearing masks a few incorrectly wearing their masks below their noses.

A notice of citation was served on the gym Nov. 21 from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety detailing the states intention to fine the gym for failing to comply with the health order. The citation explained that the fine was for violations on Nov. 20, and that the fine could increase if additional violations by the gym were demonstrated.

The citation also notes that the gym has received a cease and desist and a notice of closure. Crunch Fitness has the option of contesting the proposed $5,000 fine.

Keith Smith, district manager, said they have submitted paperwork contesting the fine. He added that the gym was open last week on Monday, was told to close at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, closed Wednesday and Thursday, reopened Friday and has been open since then. Their location in Albuquerque is also remaining open.

Smith said he has no plans to close for the foreseeable futurebecause he said he believes gyms are essential businesses.He explained that their service is about wellbeing and getting through these uncertain times.

"We are anessential business because we're providing people with the opportunity to do their own physical and mental therapy with the equipment we have readily available at hand at all of our facilities," Smith said.

He also explained a$10 charge that went into effect Nov. 20is for a semi-supervised personal training agreement which allows members the opportunity to talk with trainers before performing exercises. Smith said the service is in place to protect members, staff and himself and is not an effort to price-gouge.

The gym's contest to the notice of citationwill likely be considered before a citation is officially served.

Leah Romero is a fellow with the New Mexico Local News Fund andcan be reached atlromero@lcsun-news.comor@rromero_leahon Twitter.

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Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces served with citation for violating public health order - Las Cruces Sun-News

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