By Andrea Nakano

ALAMEDA (KPIX) — At the stroke of midnight, Alameda County drops back into the purple tier, Wednesday. It will force many businesses like gyms to close shop once again.

Mariner Square Athletic Club in Alameda was hoping to celebrate its 40th anniversary next February. Over the last six weeks, they saw signs of hope the business can survive until this latest blow.

Greg Matthews started coming to the Mariner Square Athletic Club as a 13-year-old. Now he’s the facility manager and fears his job maybe wiped out by the pandemic.

“We’re not sure we will make it through the second round here. It’s a good chance that’s it. We’ve gone from 80 employees to 20 with the reopening and now we are basically going back to I don’t think we’re going to have bare bones because the money is all dried up,” said Matthews.

The 50,000 square foot facility did everything it can to reopen safely, staggering reservation times, spacing out the fitness equipment, even converting the racquet ball courts into private fitness pods.

Matthews is frustrated there isn’t any wiggle room in the state order to keep facilities like his open.

“If you can prove you can operate on a safe level, they should allow it to happen. Packing 150 people on an airplane and tell me that’s safe, I’m not sure,” he says.

Many members here say they feel safe, with very few people working out together at the same time. Now they’ll have to go back to working out at home.

“I’m sad but what can we do? It’s COVID,” said member Zach Sherak.

Matthews said he’s been told that this latest shut down will last at least a month. He believes the only thing that might help the gym stay open is if the federal government can agree on another stimulus package.

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