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.

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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.


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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.



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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. 

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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

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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

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Some dental hygiensts worried as many dentist offices reopen

As dentist offices start to reopen following coronavirus shutdowns, many dental hygienists say they are worried it might be too soon to see patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised elective procedures and non-urgent dental visits to be postponed. For dental offices that are open, the CDC’s recommendations include requiring everyone entering to wear a face mask or covering, screening patients for fever or coronavirus symptoms before they enter and screening employees before each shift.

Many offices are welcoming patients as states have started to reopen businesses. Each state allowing dentists to reopen has different standards that offices must follow.

So what are dentists doing to protect their patients and their workers as the coronavirus pandemic continues?

New procedures from dentists

A dentist in the Pittsburgh area said patients will be screened before their arrival to see if they have any signs of coronavirus, according to KDKA. If they are accepted, their waiting room will be their car.

Dentists will have new equipment for protection and are being recommended to wear “face shields, better masks, possibly goggles, head covers and gowns,” Dr. Steven Crandall told KDKA.

A Cincinnati-area dentist told WXIX her office stocked up on face masks through a boat supply store. Dr. Rachelle Boudreau is requiring patients to “rinse with hydrogen peroxide for 30 seconds before their treatment to ease fear,” according to the station.

Nashville dentist Dr. Jeff Trembley told WSMV his practice will go back to using old-fashioned instruments to clean teeth because he does not want to use aerosol equipment for the time being.

That decision mirrors that of Michigan doctor Linda Park. She told WJRT that quality of air in offices will also be managed.

“Dental offices are going to look a lot different nowadays, as we move forward. They’re going to look a lot like hospitals because we are an aerosol producing facility,” Park told WJRT. “COVID-19 is transmitted through aerosol. Dental offices produce lots of aerosol.”

Fear among hygienists

Despite precautions taken and new procedures in place, there is skepticism from some hygienists about reopening dental offices.

Hawaii dental hygienist Kristen Neville is urging her state to clarify what procedures are and are not urgent, according to Hawaii News Now.

“Right now there is a shortage (of personal protective equipment) and I think it’s very hard for regular dentists to get their hands on anything,” Neville said. “Even masks, full face shields are really, really hard to come by and N95 masks are very low and well in supply.”

Kyra Reames, a dental hygienist in Arkansas, said she worries that resuming elective procedures adds health risks for her and patients.

“We don’t think the risk of exposing extra people to potentially contracting this virus is worth it for us at this point,” she told KNWA. “They are asking us to electively let patients into our laps with no masks on them because we are working in their mouths.”

Indiana dental hygienist Jaime Harris told WTHR, “If social distancing is

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San Antonio dentist makes plans to reopen office after COVID-19 shutdown

San Antonio – A Northwest Side dentist said he welcomed Monday’s news from Gov. Greg Abbott about allowing dentists and doctors to reopen, but he admits it’s going to be a little bit of a process to open back up.

Dr. Willie Cantu, who owns Smile Solutions in the 13100 block of Northwest Military Drive, said he will probably will start seeing patients Monday.

Cantu said he and his staff will review their supply of personal protection equipment to make sure they have everything they need.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has released his plans to reopen Texas. Here’s what we know

He also said they will probably use their parking lot as a virtual waiting room to make sure social distancing is practiced.

“Today was welcome news, but we’ll have to certainly take baby steps to kind of get back started again because it’s been a bit,” Cantu said. “And, we got to get a lot of folks in, and hopefully everybody remains patient and understanding that we’re trying to work through, you know, some real difficult times with keeping everybody safe while still trying to treat patients.”

Cantu said he understands there will be some patients and staff members who may not be comfortable coming back but he said he’s ready to go back to work and his office will be operating in a way to keep his patients and staff safe.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.


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Planet Fitness gains as gym can re-open in “phase 1” (NYSE:PLNT)

As President Trump allows gyms to re-open in the first phase, if gyms adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols, Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) surges 17.6% in the extended trading.

Nautilus (NYSE:NLS) and Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON), brands known for thier “at home” offeringss, were down 7.4% and 5.7%, respectively.

Town Sports (NASDAQ:CLUB), which just days ago was reportedly flirting with filing for bankruptcy, is up 14% in the pre-market

Prior: U.S. economy to reopen in phases: coronavirus briefing

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Planet Fitness gains as gym can re-open in phase 1 (NYSE:PLNT)

As President Trump allows gyms to re-open in the first phase, if gyms adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols, Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) surges 17.6% in the extended trading.

Checking, Nautilus (NYSE:NLS) and Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON), at the home fitness brands, were down 7.4% and 5.7%, respectively.

Prior: U.S. economy to reopen in phases: coronavirus briefing

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