Ramona Fitness Center
Ramona Fitness Center. Image from Google Maps

The owner of a Ramona gym has been charged with keeping his business open in violation of California’s COVID-19-related public health orders.

Peter San Nicolas, who owns Ramona Fitness Center, faces five misdemeanor counts of violating the California Emergency Services Act, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

The complaint alleges violations of the health order requiring that all gyms and fitness centers remain closed. The violations allegedly occurred on June 2, June 4, June 5, July 15 and July 17, according to the complaint. Each count carries a penalty of up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

San Nicolas is slated for an arraignment on Dec. 1.

District Attorney’s spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said, “We understand and sympathize with the significant hardship placed on businesses who are required to remain closed. But public health orders are in place to safeguard the health of everyone in our community amid this deadly pandemic. Along with our law enforcement partners, we work with businesses to give them opportunities to achieve voluntary compliance. But when the public health order is ignored and the law is broken, the public’s health is at risk and we will file charges.”

Gyms were among state businesses that were allowed to reopen June 12, but indoor operations were shuttered about one month later, with Gov. Gavin Newsom citing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

In San Diego County, several gyms have continued to operate indoors in violation of public health orders from the state and county. Many of those businesses have been cited, while county public health officials have also ordered the closures of some gyms for remaining open.

— City News Service

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