Gym Files Motion of Contempt Against Arizona Governor

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A health club has filed a motion of contempt against the Arizona governor in the latest move of a legal battle that has lasted for much of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to KTAR News, Arizona’s new benchmarks for reopening businesses led Mountainside Fitness to file a motion of contempt against governor Doug Ducey on Wednesday.

“Plaintiff must now navigate a byzantine procedure containing no firm deadlines nor any discernible requirements with which it can comply to be allowed to reopen,” said the motion, which KTAR acquired. “This leaves Plaintiff in the same place it was before: closed for business and with no ‘meaningful’ chance to prove it can safely reopen its doors.”

Related content: Arizona Gyms, Governor Square Off Over Shutdown

Mountainside Fitness, which has 18 locations, originally filed a restraining order against Ducey’s June 29 executive order that closed bars, water parks and gyms until at least July 27. Mountainside Fitness and EOS Fitness sued in July, while the state’s order closing the aforementioned businesses was extended until Aug. 10. An Arizona judge ruled earlier this month that gyms should have the chance to reopen.

"The Executive Orders, as implemented, violate procedural due process," the ruling from Judge Timothy Thomason read, according to reporting from the Phoenix NBC affiliate. "As set forth above, fitness centers must be provided a prompt opportunity to apply for reopening. The process for doing so must be in place within one week from the date of entry of this Order. The Executive Orders, however, do not violate substantive due process.”

Related content: Arizona Judge Sides with Gyms on Right to Reopen

Mountainside Fitness is arguing that the state’s new benchmarks don’t meet the criteria of a “swift reopening application process.”

“It’s been an ever-changing set of protocols since the day we were shut down for the second time on June 29,” Mountainside Fitness CEO Tom Hatten said in a press release, according to KTAR. “We have been desperately trying to understand first why we were forced to close, where’s the evidence, which we also proved in court that there wasn’t any evidence to prove that we should be closed.”

Ducey’s new benchmarks say that the two key components for resuming business operations are the “quality of the establishment’s implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies” and the “level of spread occurring in the community.”

In order to reopen, counties are required to reach a moderate spread of COVID-19 community transmission prior to partial reopening. A moderate spread includes having case rates between 10-99 per 100,000 residents, a positivity rate between 5-10 percent and a COVID-like illness rate below 5-10 percent for two consecutive weeks.

The state’s guidelines also lists measures gyms must take to reopen, including implementing occupancy limitations, enforcing physical distancing precautions, implementing temperature checks or symptom screening at the door, requiring reservations, offering virtual or outdoor classes, mandating the use of masks, limiting the sharing of equipment, ensuring ventilation systems operate properly and requiring sick employees to stay home.

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