St. Paul City Council Considers Changing Health Club Ordinance

St. Paul, MN — The city of St. Paul, MN, is taking steps to change its ordinance that prohibits health clubs, such as 24-hour key-card franchises Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness, from operating unsupervised, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Proposed ordinance amendments made their way through the St. Paul City Council, and a public hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1. The city council was expected to vote on the proposed amendments on Oct. 8. If the amendments are passed, the new ordinance would go into effect within 30 days, says Anytime Fitness corporate spokesperson Mark Daly, who adds that five of the seven members of the city council support the changes.

Ironically, one of the council members in favor of the changes is Dave Thune, who had been a staunch supporter of the ordinance. In the past, Thune stressed the intent of the ordinance, which was put in place in 1989 to crack down on prostitution rings. One condition of the proposed amendments is a clause that says a club's license to operate could be revoked if there is a bust for prostitution activity on the premises, the newspaper reports.

The more relevant ordinance amendments state that clubs must be on the ground level of commercial buildings, have surveillance systems and provide at least one automatic electronic defibrillator (AED), according to the Star Tribune. Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness, both based in Minnesota, have surveillance cameras, panic buttons and provide emergency necklaces. Some of the Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness clubs have AEDs, which are not required in health clubs in the state of Minnesota.

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