Arizona Gym Owner Receives Cheers for Suing the Government Over New Shutdown Order

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Posted: Jul 01, 2020 3:00 PM

Mountainside Fitness CEO Tom Hatten has issued a lawsuit against the state of Arizona after Governor Doug Ducey ordered gyms, tubing and movie theaters closed for a second time due to Wuhan coronavirus. Ducey handed down the executive order on Monday with little notice or preparation time for businesses affected. 

"I am here to announce we have filed suit against the Governor," Hatten announced earlier this week. "I have partners in the health club industry that will be joining the suit. We have contacted and have been in contact with the Goldwater Institute. We are not taking this decision lightly. We were asked to close in five hours and ask everyone to go home and to go worry and to be afraid of the next decision and the next business that will be arbitrarily close. If the Governor is serious about what's going on then I say, 'Governor Ducey, close everything. Don't choose. Don't make an arbitrary decision about what you think will look good to the media. You make a decision for everybody's life together and we'll be in full support of that just like we were for the two months we were closed down.'" 

"There is no evidence to say that closing up a health club will slow the spread or cause the spread to happen further," he continued. "This is for all businesses...we want clarity, we want truth, we want unity and we want fairness so all of us can function forward, not only as a people, as a state, as a business, together." 

Over the two months Mountain Side Fitness was closed before reopening in May, Hatten worked to set up anti-body testing, donated $100,000 to COVID relief efforts and donated sanitization wipes to a local hospital. 

"We've taken this virus, this situation, extremely seriously and have tried to handle and maneuver an employee base of just under 1500 people and keep them employed for last two months and the months going forward," he said. 

"This isn't just about health clubs. It's about business and civil liberties. Today the Governor chose to close movie theaters that are currently closed. He closed tubing that's open once a day and he chose health clubs. This could be any business, any time, anywhere," he continued. "I challenge anybody at this point to walk over to Home Depot, to go a casino, to a liquor store or to a restaurant and have dinner and let's all wait for that decision. I asked the Governor, 'Where's the proof that this decision came from any evidence of what's happening in any health club here in Arizona or across the country."

At the end of his press conference, members behind him cheered. Watch: 

Hatten also said he is prepared to pay the $2500 fine imposed by the government for violating Ducey's executive order.