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Multiple Arizona gyms say they'll stay open, defying governor's executive order

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Multiple Arizona gyms have announced that they'll remain open despite an executive order mandating that the state's gyms close once again to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Governor Doug Ducey announced a "one-month pause" in the state's reopening on Monday, ordering bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing rentals to close by 8 p.m. that night, CBS affiliate KPHO reported. 

Tom Hatten, the CEO of Mountainside Fitness, said Monday that he planned to sue the state over the order, according to KPHO. At a press conference, Hatten expressed anger at being told to close his business the same day the order was announced and said targeting gyms wasn't fair. 

"The arbitrary nature of this decision is why I am standing here today. All businesses need momentum. They need clarity. They need leadership and direction to move forward," Hatten said, according to KPHO. He claimed that with proper social distancing protocols in place, visiting the gym could be as safe as going to a Safeway or Home Depot.  

He stressed that he understood the severity of the pandemic, but said "If it is truly as bad as what we are being told, I don't think health clubs closing tomorrow will solve the problem. I don't think closing a movie theater that hasn't been open is going to solve the problem."

In a statement to CBS News, Life Time explained its decision to stay open by citing its commitment to members, "who have clearly indicated their desire" to return, and to employees whose livelihoods may be impacted by the shutdown.

"With this in mind, we intend to continue serving members in every area of the club," the company said Tuesday, adding, "We believe Life Time is as safe as other businesses, including those remaining unaffected by these revised restrictions."  

Orangetheory and F45 are also still open in the Phoenix-area, KPHO reported. 

In a Tuesday statement cited by KPHO, a spokesperson for Ducey's office 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 27."

"This is a public health issue, particularly among our younger demographic, and we are looking for cooperation and compliance from our business community in the name of public health," the spokesperson added. 

Violating the order is a class 1 misdemeanor, the spokesperson said, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, according to KPHO. 

The Scottsdale Police Department on Tuesday night said the chief operating officer of a Mountainside Fitness location in the city had been cited for a misdemeanor for refusing to close his gym. 

As of Tuesday, the virus has sickened more than 79,000 people and killed over 1,600 in Arizona, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 9,400 have recovered.

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