Arizona officials have forced a number of fitness gyms to close as COVID-19 continues to spread unabated in the state.
Two Life Time Fitness locations and one Mountainside Fitness location were notified last week by the Arizona Department of Health Services that they could face legal action if they didn’t shut their doors.
The warning came as part of Arizona governor Doug Ducey’s executive order, which made it mandatory that all gyms close their doors through July 27. The gyms needed to close by Friday to avoid a lawsuit.
On Friday, Life Time Fitness announced that all indoor fitness areas at its Arizona locations would close after previously insisting they would stay open despite the governor’s order.
"After connecting with the offices of the Governor and the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services this morning and, out of respect for the Governor, we are shutting down the indoor fitness portion of our clubs as of now through Monday evening, allowing time to meet with the Governor’s team and collaborate on how we can quickly reopen the indoor fitness portion in support of your health and wellbeing, and that of our team members. All other services and amenities in the club will remain open to you at this time," read an email to Life Time members that was reported by a Phoenix NBC affiliate.
Life Time Fitness went on to assert that gyms could operate more safely than other businesses.
"We believe that health clubs and gyms can operate more safely than any other business and, because our customers are members, we’re able to ensure everyone understands their role in upholding safety measures,” read the email. “Plus, contact tracing can be performed, where needed, because every member visit is recorded. Other retailers and places consumers may visit cannot do this, yet, they remain unaffected by these revised restrictions."
ADHS said it has agreed to partner with Life Time Fitness to come up with best practices for operating during the pandemic.
“Life Time Fitness complying with the Governor’s Executive Order is in the best interest of all Arizonans,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS. “We look forward to partnering with Life Time Fitness on developing public health best practices for the fitness industry. We appreciate their willingness to protect Arizonans and provide their time and subject matter expertise.”