Pacifica yoga studio holds mask-free classes despite state guidelines

PACIFICA, Calif. (KRON) – A Pacifica hot yoga studio is catching heat online because it’s allegedly breaking health guidelines.

The owner of Pacifica Beach Yoga is holding yoga classes without face covering requirements.

The yoga studio held several hot yoga classes on Monday. The owner spoke to KRON4 over the phone and he confirms that no masks are worn during his classes despite state and county guidelines.

Pacifica Beach Yoga in Pacifica posted on social media advertising hot yoga classes on Monday, including hashtags ‘mask free,’ ‘fear-free,’ ‘virus-free,’ ‘coward free,’ and ‘Trump 2020,’ among others. 

While the owner’s known for adding his political views on his business page, that’s not the issue. 

The issue residents and leaders have is that the owner’s mask-shaming and breaking state health requirements.

“Blatant disregard of the rules or warrants and it saddens me to know that someone because of their political beliefs may be putting the science and data and people’s lives over that,” David Canepa said.

The yoga studio is holding indoor classes without mask requirements, something KRON4 confirmed with the owner over the phone on Monday.

While no masks are worn during the hot yoga classes, the owner tells me social distancing is in place and he’s allowing up to 10 people per class with reservations.

However, according to current guidelines fitness studios in San Mateo County are only allowed to operate at 10% capacity, so allowing 10 people would mean this small building normally holds classes with 100 people.

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa says the class size might also be an issue.

“I’m familiar with the studio. It’s Bikram yoga so it’s hot but the last thing we want to do is make sure it’s not a coronavirus hot spot and having people there, sweating, and doing all these exercises. I mean are they socially distant? You basically have a business owner who says the coronavirus is a hoax,” Canepa said. 

Neighbors are now taking to social media, like Yelp, voicing their concerns.

The owner, known as Thomas A. on Yelp, takes it a step further replying to a visitor’s post, writing, “Why so angry? Because you’re jealous. Do you know that I never closed ever? We’ve been having classes the whole time-saving lives. Not one case of the virus while stupid fools like you coward at home with your mask on. Keep posting my stuff. Help me spread the word loser.”

Pacifica City Councilmember Mary Bier was shocked to hear about the studio’s operations and says this is an opportunity for people to make informed decisions.

“I think what this is it’s an opportunity for people to choose where they go and have yoga. Right? They can choose the gyms they go to. They can choose the protocols that the gyms are having in place and this kind of conversation gives them that chance because there are a lot of gyms in Pacifica going out of their way and busting their butts to get all of the protocols in place and they’re doing the right thing,” Bier said.

County officials say the yoga studio could be fined hundreds, even up to several thousand dollars because it’s breaking health protocols by not requiring face coverings.

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