Mountainside Fitness Reopens Despite Application Denial

Mountainside Fitness, which has 18 clubs in Arizona, reopened its facilities on Aug. 27 despite its application to reopen being denied by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based chain has been in a legal battle with the state and the governor since June 29 when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey required gyms in the state to temporarily reclose after COVID-19 cases increased.

Tom Hatten, owner of Mountainside Fitness, sued the governor, alleging the closure of gyms was arbitrary when some other businesses in the state were allowed to remain open.

On Aug. 4, a judge ruled that businesses should have a way to apply to reopen. On Aug. 10, ADHS put in place an application process and guidelines for reopening. Gym chain EOS Fitness is one of the gyms that applied to reopen and was approved. It reopened on Aug. 15.

As of 5 p.m. on Aug. 24, 202 businesses that had applied to reopen had been denied, according to 12 News in Arizona.

Mountainside Fitness submitted an application and enlisted the services of an independent certification company HealthyVerify.

“We believe the HealthyVerify certification is more in depth than other subjective, unknown waiver guidelines the state is unwilling to make public,” Hatten said. “If we are met with action from the AZDHS, I can assure you that we will be ready to defend our actions. In doing so, we will bring to light much of the untold facts regarding the state’s lack of clarity and accountability of all numbers in this pandemic and seek answers to each subjective ‘waiver’ approval or denial in this much publicized closure of an industry.”

On Aug. 27, ADHS announced that eight counties in Arizona had moved into the moderate transmission level, including the state’s two most populous counties: Maricopa and Pima. One county, Greenlee, is in the minimal transmission level. Due to the decrease in cases, it is expected that gyms in these counties will be allowed to reopen soon.