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Mountainside Fitness to reopen next week despite no state approval

(Facebook Photo/Mountainside Fitness)

PHOENIX — Mountainside Fitness said Friday it will reopen its almost 20 metro Phoenix locations next week despite not yet having received approval from the state.

The fitness center, which has been embroiled in a legal battle with the state for weeks over its right to conduct business during the coronavirus pandemic, posted a message to members stating its intentions to reopen at some point during the week of Aug 24.

Mountainside said in the post it hasn’t received a response from the Arizona Department of Health Services about the status of its application to reopen.

“It is vital to us that all MSF members have the ability to work out, as well as access to child care and all MSF employees have their jobs,” the fitness chain said in the post.

Whether Mountainside Fitness expects its application to be approved was immediately unclear, but state benchmarks for reopening could be met in Maricopa County next week.

Maricopa County still meets just one of the three COVID-19 benchmarks required for those businesses to begin reopening, according to Thursday’s weekly data dashboard update, but the Valley has entered the moderate community spread range for the latest week in the other two.

Under the state’s requirements, indoor gyms in moderate spread counties can open at 25% percent capacity. They must also follow detailed guidelines designed to keep COVID-19 from spreading, including requiring guests to wear face coverings and keep 6 feet away from others.

Mountainside Fitness said it hired an outside health assessment company to assist with safety protocols upon reopening.

Dozens of fitness centers have reopened in the past week after being approved by the state.

Mountainside’s legal battle with the state saw its most recent development earlier this week.

On Monday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge rejected a motion of contempt filed against Gov. Doug Ducey in Mountainside’s lawsuit over the state-ordered closure of gyms and other businesses considered high risk for spreading COVID-19.

Judge Timothy Thomason ruled that the state COVID-19 benchmarks and appeals process released last week met the order he issued for Ducey to provide gyms with a way to apply for reopening.

“At the end of the day, one way or another, we’re going to be opening in the next seven days,” Tom Hatten told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

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For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

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