PHOENIX – A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has found that Governor Doug Ducey has a week to develop a process for Arizona fitness centers to apply for reopening. The fitness centers had sued the governor who had ordered the centers to close, while supermarkets, restaurants, and other businesses could remain open.
On Saturday, Capitol Media Services reported that Will Humble, the former director of Arizona Department of Health Services, has determined that Ducey’s order to shut down gyms is “scientifically wrong.”
Capitol Media Services obtained a document in which Humble noted, “Because the proposed guidelines are very specific and more stringent than the standards applied to normal commercial businesses, my opinion is that any fitness center adhering to the proposed guidelines presents an equal or even lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 than, per prior examples, a normal retail establishment or grocery store.”
“Fitness centers must be provided a prompt opportunity to apply for reopening,” wrote Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason in his ruling.
In agreement with Humble, the judge found there is “very little credible scientific data” that supports a claim that fitness centers could pose a danger if they are operating with necessary safety protocols. “Yet, fitness centers and gyms have been closed for weeks without any due process whatsoever,” wrote Thomason. “Plaintiffs’ Constitutional right to due process has been violated. As such, the balance of hardships now tilts in plaintiffs’ favor and entitles them to some post-deprivation process.”
“It is not the Court’s function to dictate how this process will be structured or implemented,” concluded Thomason. “It is also not the Court’s function to ascertain how any application to reopen will be resolved. As long as fair and meaningful process is provided, ADHS certainly has the discretion to deny individual applications.”