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Gyms can’t open in SJ County but cardrooms can

It is now legal to play cards at a casino in San Joaquin County but not work out at a gym.

San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park made a split decision  late Thursday night on what she would agree to allow to reopen starting today under state guidelines.

Schools, day camps, casinos, cardrooms, race tracks without spectators, campgrounds, swimming pools, and hotels designed for leisure such as the Great Wolf Resort can now reopen as long as they adhere to mandated social distances and implement protocols designed to address COVID-19 concerns.

Park opted not to allow gyms to reopen even though Newsom said counties are now allowed starting today to make such a decision. Other businesses the governor gave clearance to reopen but Park is not allowing as part of the current phase include bars, wineries, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, film TV and movie production, pro-sports with spectator audiences, zoos and museums.

Gyms such as In Shape indicated they planned to open a number of locations on Tuesday including their two fitness centers in Manteca. Parks could possibly make it legal to do by then if she believes COVID-19 cases are not spiking to the point that it compromises hospital capacity.

Supervisor Tom Patti expressed his disappointment that Park continues to “draw out” the reopening process. He believes in doing so she is unnecessarily creating economic carnage that could trigger the disappearance of jobs, the loss of businesses, and create situations where people won’t be able to shelter, clothe and feed their families.

The county health department’s COVID-19 dashboard that is updated daily from Monday through Friday on its website again shows no increase in coronavirus cases in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon.

One more person was hospitalized with COVID-19 as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday to bring the number of those suffering from acute coronavirus illness in hospitals throughout the county to 44 — a record high for San Joaquin County.

Since the pandemic started there have been 1,388 verified cases of COVID-19 that includes those who been quarantined at home or hospitalized.

There are now 522 people out of the county’s 760,000 residents that are ill from COVID-19. That is up from 462 cases 24 hours earlier. There have been 866 people that have recovered.

 Two more people succumbed to COVID-19 as of mid-day Thursday bring the death count to 42.

Park has stressed her concerns lie with the fact hospitalizations as well as the surge in overall COVID-19 cases in terms of percentage of increases are growing beyond thresholds established by the state as being acceptable.

Park determined that allowing a select number of reopening of businesses take place today instead of all that Newsom is allowing is appropriate after conferring with representatives of California Department of Public Health .

The release said she recognized that counties bordering San Joaquin County are opening additional sectors of the economy. That means the nearby availability of such activities and business will likely result in the residents of San Joaquin County traveling outside of the County potentially increasing the spread of COVID-19.

Park issued a reminder that all residents and business are required to fully implement the guidance issued by CDPH, which can be found at

 “While San Joaquin County is still on the State monitoring list due to the increasing number of hospitalizations and number of individuals in the ICU, CDPH has informed the County that we can continue to reopen if the Public Health Officer determines it is safe to do so” Park said. “Since the businesses we recommend reopening are low-risk for COVID-19 transmission, I believe we are taking the right approach balancing public health and social and economic activity.”