Virus Outbreak Arizona Health Clubs

Mountainside Fitness remains open even as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has issued an executive order for all gyms to close due to the surge in coronavirus cases in Arizona Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Phoenix. For the third straight day, several health clubs in metro Phoenix were defying Ducey's 30-day shutdown order to close gyms, bars, water park and tubing businesses, raising questions about whether officials who have been criticized for responding indecisively to the pandemic will be effective in shutting down the clubs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX -- A chain of fitness centers that has been battling with Gov. Doug Ducey over his orders forcing gyms, bars and theaters to close announced Friday it would reopen next week.

Mountainside Fitness announced on Twitter that it would reopen its metro Phoenix locations even though its application with the Department of Health Services has not been approved. The announcement said “it is vital to us that all MSF members have the ability to workout as well as access to childcare, and all MSF employees have their jobs.”

The governor's office didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

The health department has received applications from more than 1,000 businesses seeking to reopen, and it approved 47 through Thursday. They include six bars serving food, 37 gyms and four theaters, while 200 other applications were denied and the rest were pending.

Mountainside owner Tom Hatten sued Ducey and won an order requiring the governor to provide a way for closed businesses to apply for reopening. The state unveiled a plan Aug. 10 allowing gyms to apply to reopen at a limited capacity and with health precautions once the spread of the virus within their county is downgraded to moderate or minimal.

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