Gym defies County shutdown order, asks community to pay citation


Editor’s Note: The video used above includes file video and pre-COVID footage.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A local gym that was cited after defying El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego’s shutdown order has found a way to pay the fine: crowdsourcing.

Sun City Athletic Club posted images on social media of recently issued citations and have set up a GoFund Me campaign to foot the bill. The citation was issued for $1,000, and the campaign has already doubled the requested amount.

Owner Lizzie Martinez said she makes sure that staff and members wear masks while inside the gym and that she constantly cleans and disinfects equipment.

She also said that she has received nothing but positive feedback about staying open, despite the shutdown.

“It makes me so emotional, so grateful that we had such great feedback,” she said. “No one wants us to shutdown, you know? We haven’t had any negative feedback at all. Everybody’s like ‘yes, we support it.’ ‘Gyms should be important.’ ‘Gyms should be essential.'”

City and County law enforcement have been cracking down on issuing citations to businesses defying the County’s shutdown order, which has been legally upheld. 

Under the County shutdown order, gyms, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other “non-essential” businesses are not permitted to be open as the COVID-19 case, hospitalization and death rate continues to soar in the Borderland.

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