An Arizona gym chain will open Thursday despite not receiving approval to do so from the state’s Department of Health Services.
Arizona gyms are among the business types required to submit applications for reopening amid the pandemic. Arizona governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order on June 29 closing down a number of facilities throughout the state, including gyms.
Mountainside Fitness, along with other franchises, sued, and in early August a judge ruled that the state would have to create an application process to allow businesses to reopen. Since then, some franchises were cleared to reopen, but Mountainside Fitness was not among them.
“As we have watched this subjective enforcement continue, along with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the lack of opportunities for our mental and physical health, it has been clear to us this process turned political on June 29th,” Mountainside Fitness founder and CEO Tom Hatten said in a press release. “Without our lawsuit, there would not have been a process to re-opening and now that ‘pathway’ is simply a guess for all that apply, resulting in an overwhelming amount of denial. Our stance was simple. We pushed for the right of businesses to stay open, and for the State to have the obligation to show proof or evidence of these subjective closures.”
Mountainside said that it had submitted its reopening application to an independent third party called HealthyVerify, which certified the chain’s ability to reopen safely.
“We believe the HealthyVerify certification is more in depth than other subjective unknown waiver guidelines the state is unwilling to make public. If we are met with action from the AZDHS, I can assure you that we will be ready to defend our actions. In doing so, we will bring to light much of the untold facts regarding the state’s lack of clarity and accountability of all numbers in this pandemic and seek answers to each subjective ‘waiver’ approval or denial in this much publicized closure of an industry,” said Hatten.
Mountainside released a list of guidelines and protocols for members and staff in conjunction with its release. The statement said that Mountainside would reopen as of 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning.