Court denies fitness group’s challenge of Gov. Doug Ducey’s closure order

Jul 14, 2020, 6:53 PM | Updated: 9:55 pm
(Getty Images/Andrew Harnik-Pool)...
(Getty Images/Andrew Harnik-Pool)
(Getty Images/Andrew Harnik-Pool)

PHOENIX — The U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, on Tuesday denied franchisors’ of boutique fitness studios challenge of Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to close all indoor gyms last month.

On July 1, plaintiffs including Xponential Fitness and seven related brands sought to secure a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Ducey’s June 29 executive order.

“The Court’s limited role of judicial review is not to assess the wisdom of the June 29, 2020 Executive Order, but rather to determine whether it violates the law,” the ruling stated.

“Having carefully considered the briefing submitted by the parties and the arguments presented by counsel, the court finds that plaintiffs are not entitled to the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief and will therefore deny the motion.”

This was at least the third lawsuit that had been filed in response to Ducey’s order, which also shut down bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and water parks until at least July 27.

“We argued that the executive order entered by Gov. Ducey shutting down all of the gyms and fitness centers in the state of Arizona temporarily was an unconstitutional exercise of authority in that it, among other things, violates due process rights,” Alex Weingarten, an attorney representing the businesses, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

Last week, Mountainside Fitness — a Valley-based chain of large gyms — also lost its bid for a temporary restraining order against the Republican governor’s executive order.

“The Governor does not have to prove that his decision was correct,” the judge wrote. “This Court must give extreme deference to the EO [executive order]. The EO clearly had a rational basis. It is unlikely that Mountainside will prevail on the merits.”

On July 10, a group of about 20 Arizona bars owners filed suit against Ducey, claiming the governor does not possess the constitutional authority to close their businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ducey’s order came as the Arizona was becoming a national and global hot spot for coronavirus cases and the state’s hospitals were beginning to show signs of reaching surge capacity.

Tuesday morning, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,273 additional coronavirus cases and 92 new deaths. That brought state totals to 128,097 COVID-19 cases and 2,337 fatalities.

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Court denies fitness group’s challenge of Gov. Doug Ducey’s closure order