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Lawsuits & Litigation

Gym World Inc. Sues Massachusetts Governor Over Continued Gym Closures

— June 22, 2020

The owners of Gym World Inc. recently decided to sue their governor, requesting that gyms be allowed to reopen immediately.

Many states are on the road to reopening, but there are a few industries that remain closed. For example, in some states, gyms are still prohibited from opening, but that hasn’t stopped a few from trying to reopen. For example, Gym World Inc. recently decided it will reopen during the Fourth of July Weekend in Massachusetts. During that weekend, CEO David Dos Santos said he and his staff will be “working to get the gyms he owns and operates ready for their tentative July 6 reopening date.”

One woman doing push-ups and another using battle ropes at the gym; image by Meghan Holmes, via
One woman doing push-ups and another using battle ropes at the gym; image by Meghan Holmes, via

Gyms like the ones Dos Santos owns were shut down across the state back on March 24 as part of Governor Charlie Baker’s (R) executive order meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But while other industries and businesses are being allowed to reopen, Dos Santos and other gym owners are getting frustrated that they’re still being told to remain closed. He said the continued closure is “unlawful, unconstitutional and causing his business revenue losses in the millions of dollars.” As a result, he and his partner decided to file a lawsuit against the governor’s office “requesting Best Fitness be allowed to reopen immediately.” Additionally, the suit “calls for reparations for lost business and for Baker to classify gyms as essential businesses in case of any future shutdowns due to the virus.

However, Baker noted earlier that he would like to see at least two weeks’ worth of indoor dining data before considering opening gyms. Because of that, Dos Santos said that while he plans to open his gym on July 6, he realizes that the date might get pushed back a little. He said, “I’m just going to play it by ear and try to do the best I can.” He noted that pushing the date back further would be tough. “It’s a financial struggle,” he said. “We have to have a date of opening. We can’t just keep on pushing it back, and we can’t go without revenue forever…People can sit inside, have dinner at a table with no mask, but you can’t allow people to work out in a 40,000-square-foot gym?”

In the 23-page suit he filed in U.S. District Court, Dos Santos argues “ordering their gyms closed is depriving the company’s right to earn a living, a violation of the Fifth Amendment.” The complaint further states that while COVID-19 is “contagious and sometimes deadly, warranting action to protect those at risk, the fear of the virus cannot justify suspending the constitutional order of Massachusetts government nor the constitutional rights of its citizens.” Additionally, the suit also calls into question the governor’s decision to label indoor gyms nonessential. It states:

“A lot of people live longer, healthier lives more prosperous lives because they can work out and stay healthy longer. Maybe Baker doesn’t think it’s essential, but that’s not true. It’s an essential piece of peoples’ lives.”


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