Mountainside Fitness, Scottsdale, Arizona, has temporarily closed its doors again after an Arizona Superior Court Judge denied a stay requested by the company of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s June 29 order to close health clubs in the state until July 27, according to an announcement from Mountainside Fitness.
The governor’s order came after COVID-19 cases in the state began to increase.
Mountainside Fitness CEO Tom Hatten initially defied the order, keeping his 18 locations open and receiving citations from the state health department for doing so. Hatten filed a lawsuit and sought a stay of the order, but the judge denied that stay on July 7.
The closures are pending an outcome in a civil litigation case brought forth by Hatten, who founded Mountainside Fitness, the state’s largest locally owned fitness provider. That lawsuit is moving forward still.
Hatten said he was forced to file the lawsuit on June 30 in Maricopa Superior Court after health clubs were arbitrarily selected to close, despite no scientific evidence that his fitness clubs or any health clubs in the state were spreading virus any more than any other business.
“It’s a disappointing day and not the outcome or decision we had hoped for,” Hatten said. “We respect Judge Thomason’s decision and the due process for this hearing. We will still be continuing our fight for Mountainside Fitness and other businesses across Arizona as we hope to prevail in the coming days when we go to court.”
The closures affect 1,500 Mountainside Fitness employees, who Hatten said he will continue to pay through July 26. The memberships of the company’s 105,000 members have been placed on hold.
“I’d like to personally thank my team members for standing strong during this past week,” Hatten said. “I would like to thank all the MSF members and Arizona as a community for the incredible support we have had this past week. You have been truly inspiring.”
Arizona health clubs initially were ordered closed on March 20 and then were allowed to reopen on May 13 before the governor ordered them to close again on June 29.
Last week, IHRSA sent a letter to all 50 governors asking them not to close health clubs, noting that no data shows that gyms are a source of COVID-19 spread. Health clubs in countries such as Germany and Austria have been open since May with no increase in COVID-19 cases, according to this Wall Street Journal article. A two-week trial in Norway also found no cases from gym use.