Ohio gyms will not be punished for opening early

Coronavirus

(WJW) — A Lake County judge has issued a ruling that would allow Ohio gyms and fitness centers to reopen immediately.  

Common Pleas Judge Eugene A. Lucci granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday morning in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of several gym owners in Lake County.  The suit was filed against Ohio State Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and the Lake County General Health District.

The lawsuit filed last week argued that Dr. Acton exceeded her authority by ordering  gyms and other fitness centers to remain closed due to the imposed “Safe at Home” order which shut down gyms and other Ohio businesses in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his ruling, Judge Lucci stated his decision protects fundamental constitutional rights. 

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Last week, Dr. Acton and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that gyms across the state could reopen beginning May 26.

Wednesday’s court ruling essentially prevents the health department from “Imposing or enforcing penalties solely for non-compliance with the director’s order.”

The lawsuit claimed “Some of the plaintiffs’ businesses will not survive the lockdown of two or more months.” 

The judge ruled “for these reasons the court finds that the plaintiffs have established that they will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted.  It also said that many people go to gyms and fitness centers to improve their health, including boosting their immune systems.  It adds that the businesses must “operate in compliance with all applicable safety regulations in the state order.”

The ruling applies to “gymnasiums, health clubs, fitness centers, gyms and workout facilities.”

A spokesman for the Lake County General Health District says officials had not yet read the ruling when reached for comment Wednesday morning.

A spokeswoman for The Ohio Department of Health tells FOX 8 they are “reviewing the ruling with our legal counsel.”

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