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Lawsuits & Litigation

New York Gym and Fitness Center Owners Sue Gov. Cuomo

— August 14, 2020

An industry coalition has proposed allows gyms to re-open if they can pass regular sanitation tests.

Over a thousand gym and fitness center owners have filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gothamist reports that more than 1,500 businesses are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including CrossFit, Pilates programs, and yoga centers.

Speaking to the State Island Advance, attorney James G. Mermigis said his clients want their businesses to be allowed to operate immediately. On top of that, they are demanding that the State of New York provide reimbursement for lost revenue.

“All these gyms want the same thing,” Mermigis said. “They want to be able to open up the same way other businesses have been opening up.

“They want to be able to open their businesses to prove they can open up safely, just like all these other businesses—like Wal-Mart, Target, etc,” he said.

A similar lawsuit was filed earlier this summer against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer, a Democrat, issued executive orders which do not permit gyms and other recreation centers to open at the same time as other businesses. While the gym owners involved in the lawsuit won a brief respite in court, their effort fell flat—at least temporarily—in appeal. There, an appeals court found that there is sufficient cause to believe that the use of shared equipment, coupled with elevated respiratory activity common to intense exercise, could exacerbate the spread of novel coronavirus.

A spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo, similarly, maintained that New York is doing what it has to do to keep infection rates low.

Image of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, taken by Zack Seward/Flickr. (CCA-BY-2.0)/n-deriv.

“Reports show that infections are rising in more than 35 states, and that officials in those states have been forced to re-close businesses and other parts of the economy that were opened too early,” Cuomo spokesman Jason Cornwall said in a statement. “Every public opinion survey has shown an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support our reopening approach. We understand that some people aren’t happy—but better unhappy than sick or worse.

“We fully intend to defend the actions taken in these matters,” he added.

But the New York Fitness Coalition, or NYFC, has said that gyms and fitness centers should be allowed to re-open if they are taking safety measures and implementing social distancing policies.

The NYFC, notes the Gothamist, even suggested its own plan for re-opening.

“Every single month, each gym would get a grade based on the results of the test,” NYFC wrote to Cuomo’s office. “The test would show a gym is hygienic to open up, and it would show it’s as safe as it’s legally supposed to be. It would show that the organic matter COVID viruses stick to isn’t present in our gyms. This rating system would be present in our windows and on our doors.”

Mermigis told the Advance that his clients do not have the means to stay in business if they are not allowed to re-open quickly.

“Many of these business owners still have several months’ rent to pay, as well as other expenses, like insurance and lost profit and lost revenue,” he said.

Mermigis said the next step for his clients is an August 20th hearing.


In push to reopen, 1,500 gyms file lawsuit against Cuomo, New York state

Over 1,500 Gym Owners Sue Governor Cuomo To Reopen

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