These Arizona bars, gyms and theaters are cleared by state to reopen


The Arizona Department of Health Services has given the OK for dozens of gyms, bars and theaters to reopen after reviewing their plans to limit the spread of COVID-19 at their businesses. (Photo: David Wallace/The Republic)

The Arizona Department of Health Services has given the OK for dozens of gyms, bars and theaters to reopen after reviewing their plans to limit the spread of COVID-19 at their businesses.

The green light was given to two movie theaters, 31 fitness centers and five bars, though some of the businesses, like EoS Fitness, run multiple locations.

Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey and DHS unveiled complex new guidelines regarding when those businesses can reopen based on the rate coronavirus is spreading in a given county.

Counties are rated in one of three categories for community spread — substantial, moderate and minimal — and the less community spread, the more businesses can be open and the more guests they can welcome.

The plans also include the ability of businesses to apply to reopen with special precautions, and more than 600 companies shut down by the governor’s June 29 order have done so.

More approvals are likely each day as DHS reviews those applications.

“ADHS staff are reviewing them as quickly as possible,” spokesman Steve Elliott said.

Six businesses were denied their applications to reopen but can appeal, he said.

Some businesses ready, some not

The Village Health Clubs have been eager to bring people back in, said President Carol Nalevanko, so the approval from DHS for all four Phoenix-area locations is welcome news.

The company has locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler.

The tennis centers, spas and salons remained open after Ducey’s closure order, and now the fitness centers can reopen and more of the 900 employees can return to work.

The company spend about $120,000 on air-purifying systems at its facilities and will limit capacity to keep guests and workers safe, Nalevanko said.

“We have quite a reduction in our actual membership,” she said. “Some members are afraid to come. Some no longer are able to come.”

She said her company has been trying to communicate with DHS that gyms are safe, citing industry data that shows low COVID-19 infection rates among gym users nationwide.

“It shows you can run health clubs safely,” she said. “Putting us always in with bars is hurtful to our industry. We view our industry as a place to come be healthy and fit. Absent a vaccine, the best way to avoid getting COVID-19 is to strengthen your immune system and be healthy.”

Not only will the fitness centers take guests’ temperatures when they arrive, but if a guest turns out to get COVID-19, the Village can use its member check-in system to notify other members who might have been exposed, she said.

“We can do some contact tracing with employees and members,” she said, adding that the clubs have used that capability for one or two times when a member has reported testing positive for COVID-19.

Read More →

EoS Fitness secures state’s approval to reopen gyms in Arizona


The Arizona Department of Health Services has approved a reopening plan for more than 20 gyms in the Phoenix area operated by EoS Fitness. (Photo: Michael Chow/The Republic)

The Arizona Department of Health Services has approved a reopening plan for more than 20 gyms in the Phoenix area operated by EoS Fitness.

The gyms will be some of the first to open their doors after the state announced a number of health benchmarks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and guide the reopening of certain businesses.

When the benchmarks were announced on Aug. 10, the spread of COVID-19 in Maricopa County was “substantial” by state guidelines and had not slowed to a safe threshold for opening gyms. Still, the state said it would consider plans for reopening that followed stricter safety policies than will be required when the benchmarks are met.

The approved plan for EoS Fitness centers includes limiting occupancy to about 100 members, or 10% capacity. Saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs and basketball courts — places where people are likely to come in close contact — will stay closed, according to the company’s website. The gyms will have water refill stations as opposed to drinking fountains, and will space exercise equipment at least six feet apart.

EoS Fitness said it would not hold group fitness classes until the spread of COVID-19 is downgraded to “moderate” in Maricopa County, per the health department benchmarks.

While EoS gyms in Utah and Nevada are also open, California locations remain closed.


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Last SlideNext Slide

Gym owners have been some of the most vocal opponents to Gov. Doug Ducey’s health restrictions during the pandemic, with a handful of companies challenging the closure orders in court. A legal challenge from the parent company of EoS was consolidated into a lawsuit issued by Mountainside Fitness in July.

Last week, four Phoenix and Scottsdale fitness facilities that reopened despite state orders received notices from the department ordering them to shut down.

MORE: Standoff between some Arizona gyms, Gov. Doug Ducey intensifies

“We know COVID-19 has been a real challenge for many businesses, and we understand the impact these public health measures have,” the health department said in a statement. “Our commitment is to keep Arizonans as healthy and safe as possible, and we appreciate business owners’ patience and cooperation throughout this pandemic.”

As of Friday, 95 bars, 89 gyms and five movie theaters had submitted proposals for reopening, according to a health department spokesperson.

The state said it was working quickly to review the applications, and had so far approved two plans — for EoS Fitness and Training for Warriors – Estrella in Goodyear — and denied four.



Do police treat people of color differently? A Republic investigation shows how much.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or on Twitter @helenwieffering.

Read or Share this story:

Source Article

Read More →

Some metro Phoenix gyms reopen, despite Gov. Doug Ducey’s order


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. 

Text with our coronavirus team

Sign up with your cellphone number below, and we’ll send you text updates on the coronavirus in Arizona. You can also text us story ideas and questions. We promise not to use your number for anything else.

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

Read More →

Arizona court rules gyms should have opportunity to reopen

Fitness centers must be provided a prompt opportunity to apply for reopening, the decision from the judge said.

PHOENIX — Editor’s note: The above video is from an Aug. 3 newscast

An Arizona judge ruled Tuesday that gyms should have the opportunity to reopen. 

Mountainside Fitness and EOS Fitness were plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

Gyms are set to be closed until at least Aug. 10 after Ducey extended executive orders that closed gyms, movie theaters, bars, water parks and tubing.

On June 29, Ducey said those businesses in the state must close until at least July 27.

On July 23, Ducey extended the closure for another two weeks where the closures would then be reviewed again with another two-week extension or a lift of the order.

“The Executive Orders, as implemented, violate procedural due process,” the ruling from Judge Timothy Thomason reads. “As set forth above, fitness centers must be provided a prompt opportunity to apply for reopening. The process for doing so must be in place within one week from the date of entry of this Order. The Executive Orders, however, do not violate substantive due process.

“We are reviewing the order. Our focus is on protecting public health, and working with the private sector on how and when to safely reopen,” a spokesperson for Ducey’s office told 12 News.

Mountainside Fitness had previously filed for a restraining order against Ducey’s initial June 29 orders, but lost the decision.

RELATED: Judge denies Mountainside Fitness’ restraining order against Ducey’s gym shutdown

A judge last month also ruled against Xponential Fitness after the company sued the state over Ducey’s executive order.

RELATED: Judge rules against Xponential Fitness in lawsuit against Arizona over shutdown order

Will Humble, the former Arizona Department of Health Services director, was a witness for Mountainside Fitness. He said with proper procedures, gyms could mitigate the risks of spreading the virus.

For Humble, the evidence points to gyms not being in the same class as bars or nightclubs.

“Not risk-free, not risk-free. I’m not saying that. But it certainly is not in the same risk category as a bar or a nightclub.” Humble said. “I do think the benefits of opening that facility outweigh the risks.”

Current state health director, Dr. Cara Christ, testified for the state and disagrees. 

“The risk is really with the type of activity that they are doing and the intensity of breathing. And so that is what makes it very different than being in a grocery store or a hardware store.“ Dr. Christ said. 

In short, Christ said those going to the gym are likely to be younger, in the demographic most likely to show no symptoms of the disease. This coupled with intense breathing during a work out makes it easier for the virus to spread.  

“We know even if the guidelines are followed there is a higher inherent risk when you are exercising for the transmission of COVID-19,” Christ said. 

Christ said while masks and

Read More →

Inslee Releases Phase 2 Guidance For Gyms, Real Estate

WASHINGTON — Tuesday Gov. Inslee released new safety regulations for gyms and real estate sales as both industries prepare to get back to work under Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan to reopen Washington’s economy.

Under the Safe Start plan, all businesses are expected to follow a broad set of safety rules, like having employees wear cloth masks and giving them any other necessary protective equipment and enough space for safe social distancing, but there are also regulations tailored to each individual industry’s needs.

For gyms, regulations released Tuesday are applicable for all fitness facilities with weight and resistance training, gymnastics facilities, martial arts, yoga, and any other fitness classes. Real estate guidance includes rules for house sales, appraisals, inspections and more.

Here are some key regulations for fitness activities:

  • Classes must be limited to five students and one teacher.
  • The total number of people inside a facility must be limited to 30 percent of the building’s normal capacity.
  • Showers, pools, basketball courts, hot-tubs, saunas and tanning beds are not allowed to reopen yet. Locker rooms can be used for hand washing and restrooms, but are otherwise discouraged.
  • High risk patients are still not allowed, including people over the age of 65 or those with underlying medical conditions like asthma.
  • Gym-goers will need to take brief safety lesson before each personal training session, and will have to sign a waiver agreeing to follow the facility’s safety policies.
  • Signs must be posted outside banning customers with COVID-19 symptoms. Gyms can also choose to set up temperature screenings for clients.
  • Training equipment must be spaced to allow for social distancing.
  • Tissues and trash cans must be placed throughout the facility. Facilities cannot provide towels during Phase 2.
  • Clients must bring their own water bottles, and water fountains can only be used to refill those bottles.
  • Clients must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering. Trainers must do so before and after each session.
  • Equipment must be sanitized after each use.

Read the full regulation for fitness and training facilities here.

Don’t miss the latest coronavirus updates from health and government officials in Washington. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters for what you need to know daily.

Here are some key regulations for real estate sales:

  • In-person meetings with customers are banned except for the customer to view the property or sign important documents.
  • Open houses are banned.
  • House viewings, inspections, appraisals and final walkthroughs should only be done by appointment. These activities must be limited to three people or fewer, including the realtor.
  • All other activities must be done remotely.
  • In real estate offices, limit guests to 50 percent of the normal building occupancy.
  • Arrange furniture to encourage social distancing.

Read the full regulation for real estate firms here.

Ten Washington counties have been approved to enter phase two early. Tuesday Gov. Inslee changed restrictions, allowing 10 more counties to apply to enter Phase 2.

The rest of the state is expected to enter Phase 2 by

Read More →

Home workout apps booming as gyms close due to coronavirus

  • As major gym chains close their doors to curb the coronavirus outbreak, people are increasingly turning to digital workout programs to maintain their exercise routines from home.
  • Services like Daily Burn, Aaptiv, and TA Online Studio have all said they’ve seen an increase in demand and engagement over the past several days.
  • The boon comes as gyms like Equinox, 24 Hour Fitness, and SoulCycle among other leading fitness clubs have temporarily closed their doors. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With major fitness chains temporarily closing their doors throughout the United States as Americans grapple with new social distancing measures to curb the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, a growing number of people are turning to at-home fitness apps to stay in shape.

Some services that offer virtual coaching and workout programs designed to be done from anywhere — especially the home — have seen a surge as the coronavirus has expanded in the United States, killing at least 211 people and infecting more than 14,500 across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 

For many in the US, the disruptions that the pandemic will bring to everyday life became very real this week. The White House recommended that the general public should avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more, New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington State announced a shutdown of bars and restaurants, and the city of San Francisco has been ordered to “shelter in place” until April 7. 

Gyms were the next major area of public life to be impacted, as a growing number of fitness club such as 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, LA Fitness, and SoulCycle among others announced temporary closures this week. 

That has prompted gym-goers to flock to apps and digital services that offer virtual workout sessions.

One such app, Aaptiv, which offers audio-based fitness programs, says it has seen a boost in new users and engagement recently. Aaptiv has specifically seen growth when it comes to wellness programs that don’t require equipment, like those geared toward meditation, body weight exercises, and improving sleep. 

Such programs have seen a spike over the last few days in particular, Ethan Agarwal, Aaptiv’s founder and CEO, told Business Insider, likely because they’re easy to perform at home without requiring an investment in new gear.

Engagement for non-equipment programs has increased by 50% this week, whereas usually the engagement is the same for both equipment and non-equipment-based workouts, Agarwal said.

It’s not just the gym closures, he said, but the fact that people may be seeking an outlet for anxiety and a cure for boredom during this social distancing period that may have led to this increase.

“Right now, when everyone’s anxiousness is up and people are nervous and stressed and even frankly a little bored sometimes, our classes are fun and relaxing,” Agarwal said. “They help you feel better.”

Daily Burn, a service that offers virtual workout classes in areas like high training intensity workouts, barre, and cardio and strength, has also experienced a surge in demand recently.

Read More →