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AZDHS Denies Mountainside Fitness Application to Reopen

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Mountainside Fitness

The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) has denied Mountainside Fitness’ application to reopen in the state.

On August 5, an Arizona judge ruled gyms could open as soon as August 11, pending approval of reopening protocols by AZDHS. The ruling came about through a Temporary Restraining Order/Injunctive Relief bid by Mountainside Fitness and EoS Fitness, in response to Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey’s executive order on June 29 mandating gyms, bars and other businesses close for 30 days.

Mountainside Fitness had submitted an application to reopen to AZDHS, and enlisted the services of an independent certification company, HealthyVerify. According to the fitness brand, this certification is supported by medical professionals in order to verify a company’s ability to re-open safely.  

“We are aware that the AZDHS’ standards of approval were subjective, and essentially unknown to the fitness applicants, which is why you will not see them on the website,” said Tom Hatten, the founder and CEO of Mountainside Fitness, in a statement. “We are also aware that the majority of fitness applicants were denied without knowledge as to what standards would be approved.”

Hatten expressed additional frustration surrounding the reopening process and denial to reopen, citing the subjectiveness of the process by Governor Ducey and AZDHS.

“As we have watched this subjective enforcement continue, along with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the lack of opportunities for our mental and physical health, it has been clear to us this process turned political on June 29,” Hatten continued. “Without our lawsuit, there would not have been a process to re-opening and now that ‘pathway’ is simply a guess for all that apply, resulting in an overwhelming amount of denials. Our stance was simple. We pushed for the right of businesses to stay open, and for the state to have the obligation to show proof or evidence of these subjective closures.”

Despite having its application to reopen denied, Mountainside Fitness announced plans to reopen on Thursday, August 27 at 4:30 a.m. MT. It will do so under the protocols certified by HealthyVerify.

“We believe the HealthyVerify certification is more in-depth than other subjective, unknown waiver guidelines the state is unwilling to make public,” continued Hatten. “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.”

Mountainside Fitness has 18 locations and 105,000 active members in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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