Arizona health officials order Life Time, Mountainside Fitness locations to close | Coronavirus in Arizona

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Two Life Time Fitness locations and one Mountainside Fitness location have been put on notice to shut down or else they’ll face legal action.

Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services sent letters to the locations demanding compliance with Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order that closed all gyms until July 27. They have to be closed by noon Friday or else they face a lawsuit from the state. The health department also put the notices on the facilities’ windows, too.

The locations are the Mountainside Fitness at 116th Street and Shea Boulevard, Life Time Fitness near Priest Drive and Warner Road in Tempe and the Life Time Fitness near 24th Street on Camelback Road.

Investigators with the agency suspended the liquor licenses of the Life Café & Lounge and the Rooftop Bistro. 

The letters of compliance say the community spread of the coronavirus continues and is highest among 20 to 44-year-olds, “the very demographic of those who patronize establishments like your own.” If the gyms don’t comply, the department will file a temporary restraining order against Mountainside and Life Time.

Hatten’s company filed a notice of claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, against Gov. Ducey on Tuesday.

The gyms are among the nearly two dozen health clubs in the Valley who defied Gov. Ducey’s order to close gyms. Earlier this week, the Republican governor ordered a 30-day shutdown of gyms, bars, water park and tubing businesses as Arizona faces a huge spike of coronavirus cases, saying, “We can’t be under any illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own.”

Mountainside Fitness and Life Time say they have made changes to protect against the virus and that there’s no evidence of any outbreaks at the state’s gyms. They say Ducey is singling out their industry while other businesses that do a poor job at social distancing are allowed to remain open.

“You can’t go to the health club, but you can walk down the street to the casinos?” asked Mountainside Fitness chief executive Tom Hatten, who has filed a lawsuit seeking to undo the order.

Several gyms in Arizona are staying open despite Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order to close all gyms for 30 days.

Police have issued misdemeanor citations for disobeying the governor’s order to two Mountainside locations, and state regulators have suspended liquor licenses at cafes and bistros operated at two Life Time clubs. Still, both chains are keeping their doors open in Arizona.

Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak vowed other enforcement actions will be taken against violators. “This is a public health issue, particularly among our younger demographic, and we are looking for cooperation and compliance from our business community in the name of public health. We know this is a sacrifice,” Ptak said.

A second lawsuit seeking to overturn the governor’s order was filed by Xponential Fitness, which operates about 50 fitness businesses in Arizona and maintains the governor’s order was unconstitutional.

Across the state, 3,333 additional cases and 37 deaths related to COVID-19 were reported as of Thursday, totaling more than 87,000 cases and 1,757 deaths since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, hospital capacity remains at 89%.

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