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Arizona Gov. Spared Contempt in Legal Fight with Gyms

Jason Scott

A legal battle between fitness centers and Arizona governor Doug Ducey continues to play out in court.

According to The Arizona Republic, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge declined a motion to hold Ducey in contempt of an earlier order to give the state’s gyms and fitness centers a chance to reopen to customers.

Mountainside Fitness and EoS Fitness sued Ducey over a June 29 order that re-closed fitness centers in Arizona. At the time, the state was seeing a spike of COVID-19 cases, and other business categories such as waterparks, movie theaters and bars were also included in Ducey’s order. 

Earlier this month, a judge ruled that fitness centers must be given at least the chance to apply to reopen to customers. After that ruling, Ducey and the Department of Health Services devised a process to allow just that, which calls for gyms and fitness centers to meet criteria in order to be allowed to reopen. 

Criteria include some things that are out of any given facility’s control, such as the number of cases in a county and the rate of spread. Gyms may be allowed to open in phases, depending on local conditions. The reopening process also includes an application that could allow gyms to provide additional safeguards in the event that their local metrics aren’t up to snuff. 

Some argued that Ducey’s process was so burdensome that it actually violated the earlier ruling requiring the application process, and sought to have Ducey held in contempt. However, judge Timothy Thomason, in denying the contempt request, disagreed. 

"There is a process in place," Thomason wrote in his denial of the contempt request. "Fitness centers are taking advantage of the process, some of them successfully."

So far, two gym companies have been allowed to reopen in Maricopa County as a result of Ducey’s prescribed process — EoS Fitness and Fitness for Warriors. Meanwhile, the Republic reports that about 500 businesses in the affected business categories have sought to use the process to reopen. 

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