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Chris Scheimann has owned Tangible Fitness for nearly 20 years, and he doesn’t want to see it shut down because of the pandemic. (Photo: Helena Wegner/The Republic)

Several fitness centers around metro Phoenix are open, despite orders from the state to remain closed until COVID-19 rates decline.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order weeks ago closing gyms, among other businesses, to prevent spreading the virus. Monday, he released detailed reopening guidelines that make it clear it will be weeks before gyms are allowed to reopen in many Arizona counties.

The governor’s order states that “indoor gyms or fitness clubs or centers” shall pause operations. The order does not address the size of the fitness center, the type of fitness activity, or whether the gym requires memberships.

But enforcement is left to local law enforcement, and many agencies are not proactively patrolling for rogue gyms. 

Instead, police departments are responding to complaints of businesses violating the governor’s order and giving businesses that are out of compliance a warning, followed by a citation in some instances if they return and again find the business out of compliance.

Tangible Fitness in Phoenix

Owner Chris Scheimann of Tangible Fitness in northeast Phoenix is going against the executive order by reopening his gym one day after the state laid out the new path for gyms and bars to reopen.

He said Ducey’s order was unclear and that the governor had promised to review the order every two weeks but hasn’t done so.

Instead, the Arizona Department of Health Services posted recommendations for the “eventual safe reopening of paused businesses.” 

Scheimann said he has tried to contact the Governor’s Office and the Department of Health Services for clarification, but no one has responded to him. 

“I’ve been closed for four months. I can’t stay closed off forever,” Scheimann said.

His gym reopened only for a short period when the first stay-at-home order ended in May. 

He said Phoenix police also have offered no direction on new guidelines. Two officers stopped by his gym on Tuesday and didn’t give him a citation, he said. 

Scheimann said the officers told him their captain instructed them to respond to the complaint, but they had no directive on what to do after that.

Tangible Fitness is operating at 17% capacity. If people want to work out, they have to make an appointment, wear a face mask, keep a six foot distance from others and get their temperature checked before entering the equipment area.

Scheimann said he strictly enforces the safety rules at his gym. 

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One Phoenix gym never shut down

A training facility in south Phoenix near Ahwatukee has remained open throughout the pandemic. And the owners said they’ve never received any warnings from police, despite