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35 Ohio independent gyms sue state's health director over closures, reopening plans

Local gyms, firms named in lawsuit
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Posted at 1:50 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 13:50:54-04

Thirty-five independent gyms across Ohio, including a handful from Greater Cincinnati , are suing Ohio leaders over the closure of gyms due to coronavirus and leaving them out of plans to reopen businesses around the state.

The lawsuit filed in Lake County, located northeast of Cleveland, claims Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and the county's general health district violated gym owners' constitutional rights by shuttering fitness centers.

"In prohibiting healthy behavior through exercise at Ohio gyms, Defendants continue to obstruct rather than advance Ohioans' health, all the while having continuously overinflated the risk of harm to the general public," the suit reads.

The gyms, represented by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, seek a judgment to reopen immediately after the state's plans left out guidance for independent fitness centers. Ohio ordered gyms closed on March 15 .

"Such orders are imposed pursuant to vague and unfettered enforcement authority that creates the crime of operating a gym" even if safety precautions are followed, the suit reads.

Tri-State gyms named as plaintiffs include Evolution Fitness and Lifestyle Management in Cincinnati, Combatives Development Group/Gracie Cincinnati in Blue Ash, Iron Plate Gym in Milford and Small Town Fitness in Greenfield. Cincinnati firms Finney Law and The Law Firm of Curt Hartman are also representing the gyms.

At DeWine's news conference Tuesday , Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said review groups are still conferring for areas like gyms and fitness centers, travel and tourism, casinos, fairs, and outdoor recreation like camping and sports. There is still no word on when any of these industries will be able to reopen.

WCPO first reported this story.