Coronavirus: Judge rules Ohio gyms can’t be penalized if they reopen early

UPDATE @ 11:02 p.m.: A preliminary injunction was issued by an Ohio judge on Wednesday ruling that the state can’t impose penalties on gyms and fitness centers based solely on not complying with the order not to reopen before May 26, according to a report by our news partners at WBNS-TV in Columbus.

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However facilities are required to follow “all applicable safety regulations” that are included either in the state’s order or supplemental guidelines for gyms and fitness centers, according to the station's report.

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The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 35 Ohio gyms and fitness centers against Ohio health director Dr. Amy Acton. The lawsuit originally sought a temporary or permanent injunction against the state’s Stay-at-Home order that went into effect March 23, that prevented people from gathering and closed all non-essential businesses.

The amended order, Stay Safe Ohio, issued April 30, specifically ordered gyms, health clubs, and workout facilities to remain closed until the order was changed or lifted.

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced gyms will be allowed to reopen May 26 with regulations.

Wednesday night, WBNS reported that the governor’s press secretary sent the following statement to 10TV:

“The ruling affirms that facilities must follow Ohio Department of Health safety protocols to keep patrons and all Ohioans safe and healthy. These facilities were due to open Tuesday anyways. However, our office disagrees with the ruling’s analysis of law.”

Also Wednesday, Acton officially lifted the Stay-at-Home order, which became Stay-Safe-Ohio and this week was changed to the Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory. The name changes signaled advancing stages of progress in the state’s response to COVID-19, Acton and DeWine have said.