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Mountainside Fitness CEO calls 2nd closure order ‘reckless’, plans to sue

(Facebook Photo/Mountainside Fitness)

PHOENIX – A Valley businessman said Tuesday the latest state order that puts Arizona’s reopening on hold was “reckless,” “subjective” and an overreach on Gov. Doug Ducey’s part.

Mountainside Fitness CEO Tom Hatten said his lawyers planned to file an injunction before the end of the day.

Ducey ordered gyms, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and water parks to shut down Monday for at least 30 days as COVID-19 cases surged in the state.

“Why we’re doing it is because of the randomness of Gov. Ducey’s decision. There isn’t any factual basis for it,” Hatten said Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

Hatten reopened the chain of more than 20 locations May 18, a few days after the state’s stay-at-home order was allowed to expired.

The clubs were open for business Tuesday. Ducey’s order went into effect Monday at 8 p.m.

“And you have this random decision to happen without any fair warning was reckless,” Hatten said.

He said he and other business owners had “worked with the Governor’s Office [in May] to put in protocols,” based on safety guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.

“We increased our cleaning procedures inside the facilities by tenfold,” Hatten said.

“There’s no substantive reason to just decide this yesterday.”

Arizona reported a single-day high 4,682 coronavirus cases Tuesday, but the results included numbers that weren’t available Monday, when the state health department said a lab missed a submission deadline.

“Health clubs have members, we don’t have customers. We have the ability to communicate and legislate how they walk into a facility and how they function in there, which is completely different than a bar,” Hatten said.

He hasn’t decided what to do if police were to arrive and enforce the shutdown order.

“I’m not sure. We’ve talked about it internally,” he said. “That’s a tough thing. We’re getting to the point of desperation for all businesses.”

In an email to KTAR News, Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak said, “The governor’s executive order is clear. Gyms and other indoor fitness clubs or centers, regardless of size, shall pause operations until at least July 27th.

“The order is also enforceable under A.R.S. 26-317, which carries the penalty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and a fine of up to $2,500. Our office has talked with law enforcement from around the state and local leaders.

“Again, we are looking for compliance, and we expect this order to be enforced.”

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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