MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. - After some Arizona gyms continue to disobey state orders to close to be in compliance with an executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic, lawyers argued in court via phone on July 6, defending why their clients should be able to keep their fitness clubs open.
The governor’s executive order on June 29th stated that gyms must close for 30 days due to the increasing COVID-19 numbers in Arizona.
EOS Fitness closed at 8 p.m. on June 30.
The gyms' attorneys argue that the order was arbitrary as gyms were following protocols and were singled out while other businesses were allowed to remain open.
They argued there was no rational basis for the governor to single out gyms.
"What you're saying is the governor is not being consistent," said Judge Timothy Thomason of Maricopa County Superior Court.
He added, "And I guess my question is, does the rational basis test demand consistency? If there's one thing through this COVID crisis is consistency and that's understandable. The science is new. We know things now we didn't know then, so is that asking too much, demanding exact consistency under this minimal rational basis test?"
Joel Sannes, attorney for Mountainside Fitness, said, "We know that restaurants are being treated differently."
Governor Ducey's attorney, Brett Johnson, argued that times have changed since guidelines were first issued, citing COVID-19 cases having increased dramatically across the state.
Positive cases in Arizonans who are 20 to 44 years old now top 50,000.
"When medical personnel who are at the top of their game for the State of Arizona say that we need to shut down gyms to control that 20-44 age limit ... we're trying to protect people here. For those that are ignoring the shutdown order, they’re putting people at risk. There's going to be deaths associated with that and that cannot be denied," Johnson argued.
Judge Thomason is expected to make a ruling Tuesday.
Life Time was also a gym that refused to close its doors, but finally did so on July 3rd.
CEO of Mountainside Fitness, Tom Hatten, held a press conference to talk about why he would not close his doors.