Boulevard Fitness in University Heights. Photo via

A University Heights gym that remained open for months in defiance of county public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily closed, citing the financial burden of mounting, potential fines from the city.

Boulevard Fitness announced to its members in an email dated Wednesday that it would shutter its doors for the foreseeable future, but is working to get in compliance with the county in order to reopen soon.

A letter sent to the gym this week by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office states that the gym was out of compliance for more than 45 days, and that it could be subject to fines of $2,500 per day for each health order violation, in addition to being ordered to close.

A City Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said the case was referred to the office following several warnings and citations from the county that were ignored, making it the first such case referred to its office by the San Diego Police Department, though the office did recently take legal action in a case also referred by SDPD to shut down a Bankers Hill home that was allegedly being used as a party house in violation of health orders prohibiting large public gatherings.

In his email to members, gym owner Shawn Gilbert wrote, “We have been fighting hard and doing everything we can to continue to keep our doors open for all of our members, but due to current fiscal situations we have to temporarily close our doors. Unfortunately, the fines that we are looking at getting would prevent the business from being open on the other side of this closure so we have to close our doors for the time being.”

Gilbert also started a GoFundMe page to raise funds during the closure.

City Attorney Mara Elliot said, “For more than a month, Boulevard Fitness ignored the county’s orders to stop endangering the health of its members and the public. My office stepped in and got quick compliance the same way we did with the Banker’s Hill party house — by laying out the fines and penalties we could seek if they continued breaking the law. The spread of COVID is a problem that my office takes seriously.”

— City News Service

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