CLAREMONT (CBSLA) — “I can tell you, I’d rather be out of work and lose my job than put anyone on the unemployment line,” said Mike Alpert, a CEO of a health and fitness club, who has managed to keep his 260 employees on his payroll, despite the club being temporarily closed.

Alpert devised a plan to ask members of The Claremont Club to continue to pay their dues for April and May, with a promise that they will be paid back once the club opened again.

Combined with the help from the federal Stimulus package, Alpert believes he can provide his employees with a paycheck and health benefits through July.

“I literally fell to my knees,” said one of the Pilates instructors, upon learning that she would remain on the payroll.

In an extraordinary act of goodwill, 90 percent of the club’s 10,000 members are paying their dues.

“We’re willing to break even or even at a loss,” said Alpert. “This year is not about money. This year is about people.”

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