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Arizona gyms get another chance after judge rules Ducey order violates due process

Members leave Mountainside Fitness in Paradise Valley, Arizona the day after Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the state’s gyms close for one month. 

(The Center Square) – A judge has ruled Gov. Doug Ducey must give Arizona gyms and fitness centers a chance to reopen safely.

In a brief statement, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason said Gov. Doug Ducey’s rolling closure of fitness centers violated executive due process. He ordered Ducey to give the gyms one week to have a process in place to apply for a safe reopening.

The judge’s ruling does not shoot down the entire executive order, as it said Ducey did not violate substantive due process.

The suit was brought by Mountainside Fitness and the company that owns EoS Fitness. The court heard testimony from Dr. Cara Christ, director of Ducey’s COVID-19 response, and Will Humble, the former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. Humble testified on behalf of the gyms, saying a gym-goer with a mask is theoretically safer than restaurant customers who take off their face coverings to eat.

Attorneys for Mountainside Fitness argued gyms should remain open if they could comply with state protocols.

The ruling does not apply to bars, which were also closed in the same executive order. Ducey’s office would re-evaluate the order on a bi-weekly basis and decide if it warrants lifting.

Ducey’s office said they’re reviewing the order.

“Our focus is on protecting public health, and working with the private sector on how and when to safely reopen,” said spokesman Patrick Ptak.

The initial executive order was to expire on July 27 but was extended after the state saw an uptick in daily COVID-19 cases. Defiance of the order carries a Class 1 misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $2,500.

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