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Judge denies Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's request for a delay in gym fight

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Posted at 2:24 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 18:49:27-04

PHOENIX — A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's request to put on hold an earlier court ruling that would have forced his administration to create a process where fitness centers and gyms could apply to potentially reopen.

Gov. Ducey and his attorneys requested a stay of that order on Wednesday. They have also appealed the order to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

"This Court upheld the Executive Orders. The Executive Orders are in full force and effect and there is nothing preventing the Executive Branch from enforcing those orders and preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The only thing that this Court’s Order did was require a modicum of due process to aggrieved parties," Judge Timothy J. Thomason said in his response.

Thomason also said in his response that the Aug. 4 order did not mandate that gyms and fitness centers be allowed to reopen; instead, it ordered that gyms and fitness centers have the opportunity to apply to reopen.

"The Court is sensitive to the demands on the Governor and ADHS and stated that the process to be designed by the Governor and ADHS could be as “simple and straightforward as the Governor or ADHS want it to be...," the judge stated.

"Under EO 43, fitness centers were shut down for the second time. Plaintiffs have been mandatorily shutdown for well over one month without any opportunity to be heard. A stay would further delay and impair plaintiffs’ procedural due process rights for weeks and perhaps months. A stay could very well render the procedural due process issue moot," Thomason said.

ABC15 has reached out to the Governor's Office for comment on the most recent ruling.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, a judge ruled that while Gov. Ducey's executive order did not violate substantive due process, it did violate procedural due process. Therefore, the judge ruled that "fitness centers must be provided a prompt opportunity to apply for reopening." The judge also ordered that such a process be implemented within a week.

Fitness centers and gyms, along with movie theaters, water parks, and tube operators, have been closed since June, when Gov. Ducey issued an executive order in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases around the state.

Mountainside Fitness, as well as other fitness companies, quickly filed lawsuits against the state claiming that the executive order was arbitrary, lacked clarity, and singled out their industry, while other industries were allowed to open without restraint.

A judge initially denied Mountainside Fitness' request for a temporary restraining order, which forced the company to shut down its locations. Mountainside Fitness was also cited more than once at the time for violating the governor's executive order.