A collection of 35 independent Ohio gyms is suing the Ohio Department of Health and its director Dr. Amy Acton for enforcing the closure of fitness centers during the state's Stay Safe Ohio order. Cincinnati's Iron Plate Gym, Evolution Fitness & Lifestyle Management and Gracie Cincinnati Jiu-Jitsu training center are included in the list of plaintiffs.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law — a nonprofit and nonpartisan firm based in Columbus — said that Dr. Acton's updated April 30 stay at home order "opens, or provides a pathway to opening, many Ohio industries, but leaves gyms closed indefinitely without regard to whether gyms are capable of operating safely."
The complaint says Dr. Acton's order is "impermissibly vague" and that the use of the health department's powers to "criminalize gyms that could otherwise comply with each of the safety regulations articulated in the April 30, 2020 Order violates operators’ right to equal protection."
The suit also says, "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 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,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson in a release.