Friday, July 3, 2020

BREAKING: "Rebellion of the Gyms, Chap.4" - Life Time Fitness Blinks "Out of Respect For the Governor"... But For How Long? EOS Fitness Fighting In Court On Monday (Joining Mountainside)

(Update, July 6: Coverage from the emergency hearing can be found here.)

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and the Department of Health Services went on the offensive yesterday against rebellious gyms, and today announced major player Life Time Fitness had backed down.

The state's letter yesterday threatened immediate civil action in court if the gyms did not shut down by noon, today. Shortly after that deadline, AZDHS announced that Life Time would re-close "and come into compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-43 and the Department’s Emergency Measures." AZDHS also suggested that it would be partnering with Lifetime "to develop examples of best practices for the fitness industry to provide technical assistance for other fitness professionals."

Monday's Executive Order called for gyms (and, bars, movie theaters, water parks and tubing operations) to "pause" operations until at least July 27.

However, in a surprise move moments after today's AZDHS announcement, Life Time's CEO told Arizona members that LTF's pause is only through Monday evening "out of respect for the Governor".  The pause is to "allo(w) time to meet with the Governor's team and collaborate on how we can quickly reopen the indoor fitness portion."

CEO and Founder Bahram Akradi also urged members to take to Twitter/phones/email to tell Doug Ducey to re-open Life Time. He even gave a sample Tweet: "@dougducey, Working (sic) out keeps me healthy to fight illness and disease. Please allow me to workout at my health club now."

Akradi noted that he has been in Phoenix the past two days and has spoken with "many, many members expressing how essential this is for them". (We have not yet posted the email.)

Meanwhile, "AZ Law" has learned that EOS Fitness will be joining Mountainside Fitness in Superior Court on Monday morning. EOS - a locally-based chain of gyms with about 20 locations in Maricopa County - filed the suit earlier in the week. The Court consolidated their case with Mountainside's yesterday.

The emergency hearing is set for 9:00am on Monday morning.

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