[Update: Aug. 19, 2020 - This story has been updated with news that rock climbing gym AZ on the Rocks has also been approved to reopen.]
EOS Fitness reopened on Aug. 15 after receiving approval from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), but most other gyms in the state, including Mountainside Fitness, remain closed. On Aug. 18, rock climbing gym AZ on the Rocks, Scottsdale, Arizona, was approved by ADHS to reopen, the company announced.
On Aug. 10 ADHS set up guidelines and a system for gyms, bars and movie theaters in the state to apply to reopen. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey had ordered fitness facilities in the state to temporarily reclose on June 29 when COVID-19 cases in the state began to rise again.
At that time, Mountainside Fitness, which has 18 clubs in the state, sued Ducey, accusing him of arbitrarily closing gyms while allowing other businesses, such as retail stores, to reopen. In early August, the judge ruled that Gov. Ducey’s executive order to shut down gyms violated procedural due process and the governor must give health clubs an avenue to re-open. The ADHS then set up the application process.
Most recently, Mountainside Fitness asked the judge in the case to rule that Ducey was in contempt of court because it claimed the governor was not following the court order. However, the judge ruled on Aug. 17 that the governor had directed ADHS to generate a process that complied with the court’s orders and that Mountainside Fitness had not given the reopening application process enough time to work before filing a contempt lawsuit.
On Aug. 15, Mountainside Fitness noted on its Twitter page that it had applied with ADHS to reopen but had not heard back yet.
The EOS Fitness plan limits occupancy to 10 percent, requires electronic reservations for all clients, pauses group activities, and closes basketball courts and kids clubs.
At close of business on Aug. 14, 89 gyms had applied with ADHS to reopen along with 95 bars that serve food and five movie theaters. As of Aug. 17, two applications had been approved and four had been denied, ADHS said.
However, AZ on the Rocks notified Club Industry that it was approved on Aug. 18 to reopen, crediting the COVID-19 procedures it had put in place, some of which were through HealthyVerify Certification (HVC). AZ on the Rocks had implemented the procedures from HVC in May, and because of that, it didn't have to make any substantial changes, the company said.
In approving the rock climbing gym, the ADHS letter said: “Your application provided proof that your business has taken or will take such extra steps, beyond those required in the Guidelines and Benchmarks for counties whose community transmission metrics are in the moderate category.”
The HVC protocols for AZ On The Rocks include frequent air filter changes, temperature checks, frequent equipment cleaning and specialized scheduling, among other measures.
HealthyVerify partners with infectious disease experts from the Barrow Neurological Institute and researchers at Arizona State University to reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases including COVID-19.