COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine is allowed several Ohio businesses to slowly reopen, but has so far not revealed his plan on gyms.
With the future still up in the air, 35 such facilities in the state filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, naming Dr. Amy Acton (in her capacity as Ohio Department of Health Director) and the Lake County General Health District as defendants. The businesses are being represented by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a Columbus-based non-profit "dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse."
The 85-page complaint rips Acton for her "unfettered discretion" over the coronavirus-inspired "Stay Safe Ohio" order, which asks most state residents to stay home and has only just recently given some non-essential businesses businesses the green light to begin operations again. Attorneys expressed their displeasure that the current order provides these businesses a pathway to reopen, but does not mention gyms.
Said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson:
"The Ohio Constitution requires greater scrutiny of vague and discriminatory enactments that trample Ohioans’ property rights. Ohio gyms are capable of operating safely, and have the right to operate on equal terms with other Ohio businesses. Once gyms have opened, we are committed to ensuring that these arbitrary policies never recur."
While still hesitating with a gym announcement, DeWine on Tuesday stated tattoo and massage parlors will be permitted to open back up on Friday, and is expected to give further directives on day cares and pools soon. He has also defended Acton from conservative criticism, declaring, 'The buck stops with me."
The lawsuit asks that gyms be allowed to immediately reopen, albeit with safety measures in place. 19 Northeast Ohio facilities were included as plaintiffs.
You can read the entire complaint below, along with a list of the gyms who signed on: