PHOENIX — A fitness club chain is closing Friday after a standoff with officials in Arizona.
Life Time Fitness locations in Arizona will close fitness portions Monday evening after initially opting to stay open despite Gov. Doug Ducey's June 29 order to close gyms.
The decision from Life Time comes after a conversation with the governor's office and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ, per a Life Time spokesperson.
Gov. Ducey ordered gyms, bars, movie theaters, tubing and water parks to close in the state at 8 p.m. on June 29 until at least July 27 as the coronavirus continues to spread in Arizona.
Life Time Fitness closed fitness floors and studios on June 30, but other amenities remained open like pools, saunas and locker rooms. The fitness floors and studios were reopened on July 1, according to emails sent to members.
Now, the indoor fitness portions will close again, while other amenities in the health clubs will remain open.
"After connecting with the offices of the Governor and the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services this morning and, out of respect for the Governor, we are shutting down the indoor fitness portion of our clubs as of now through Monday evening, allowing time to meet with the Governor’s team and collaborate on how we can quickly reopen the indoor fitness portion in support of your health and wellbeing, and that of our team members. All other services and amenities in the club will remain open to you at this time," an email to Life Time members read, in part.
Life Time also said in the email it believes gyms can operate with more safety than other businesses.
"We believe that health clubs and gyms can operate more safely than any other business and, because our customers are members, we’re able to ensure everyone understands their role in upholding safety measures. Plus, contact tracing can be performed, where needed, because every member visit is recorded. Other retailers and places consumers may visit cannot do this, yet, they remain unaffected by these revised restrictions."
ADHS announced it has agreed to partner with Life Time Fitness to develop examples of best practices for the fitness industry to provide technical assistance for other fitness professionals.
“Life Time Fitness complying with the Governor’s Executive Order is in the best interest of all Arizonans,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS. “We look forward to partnering with Life Time Fitness on developing public health best practices for the fitness industry. We appreciate their willingness to protect Arizonans and provide their time and subject matter expertise.”
Life Time clubs have bars in multiple locations and the state's Department of Liquor Licenses and Control announced it is suspending the liquor licenses for two bars at a Life Time Fitness location in the Biltmore area of Phoenix and one bar at a Life Time Fitness location in north Scottsdale after they stayed open.
The Life Cafe and Lounge and the Rooftop Bistro, owned by LTF Club Operations Company, at the Biltmore location were in violation because indoor gyms and fitness clubs were asked to pause operations until at least July 27.
The Life Café and Bistro at the north Scottsdale location was in violation for the same reason.
Mountainside Fitness, another large fitness center company in the Valley, is filing a lawsuit against the state for denying due process. Mountainside Fitness says they were cited for violations Tuesday.