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01 Jul 2020

Gym chain takes legal action over order to close when restaurants remain open
BY Tom Walker

Mountainside Fitness operators 18 health clubs in Arizona

Mountainside Fitness operators 18 health clubs in Arizona
photo: Mountainside Fitness

Mountainside Fitness in Arizona has filed a lawsuit against state's governor, Doug Ducey, after he ordered gyms to shut their doors again for at least a month to tackle a "second spike" in coronavirus cases.

CEO and founder, Tom Hatten, said he made the decision to take legal action immediately after Ducey issued the order during a press conference.

Hatten told HCM other operators, such as Lifetime Fitness, Orangetheory and F45, will also remain open in Arizona, in defiance of the order.

"The decision to arbitrarily close health clubs state-wide, yet allowing restaurants, heavily populated Casinos, and packed stores like Walmart and Home Depot to remain open does not make sense," Hatten said.

"This decision is random, with no factual basis. Transparency in relation to information supporting this decision is non-existent.

“We're just as concerned about this virus as everyone, but singling out and closing health clubs, after we sat closed for two months is not going to keep the virus from spreading.

“Governor Ducey gave us less than five hours to alert 100,000 members and figure out how to keep 1,500 employees on the payroll,” Hatten told HCM.

“We're not a small business. We didn’t qualify for Payroll Protection. Our employees still need a paycheck and rely on our medical benefits.

"We've been forced to file this suit and we are asking the courts to issue a stay of the order.”

Hatten says he will defy the order and has "no plans" to close doors at any of the 18 Mountainside Fitness sites.

When initially given the permission to re-open in mid-May, Mountainside Fitness implemented a series of safety measures – including social distancing, training staff in COVID-19 protocols, installed sanitising stations throughout the clubs and continuously disinfecting surfaces and equipment.



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