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Judge shuts down Vermont gym for violating executive order

(WCAX)
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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A judge has shut down a Rutland gym for staying open and violating Governor Scott's executive order.

Club Fitness closed in March when the governor ordered all gyms to stop operating. But it reopened in May. Last week, it received a cease and desist order from Attorney General T.J. Donovan. But that didn't prove to be enough. Friday, Donovan sued Club Fitness and a judge shut it down.

"I'm disappointed. I didn't want to have to do this," said Donovan, D-Vt. Attorney General.

Sean Manovill, owner of Club Fitness was given a cease and desist order last week.

"Myself and T.J. Donovan the AG came to a compromise that I would shut down for seven days and I made sure that I followed through with that 100%," Manovill said.

Then he opened Friday morning.

Donovan sued and hours later, a judge ordered Club Fitness in Rutland shut down for not complying with the governor's executive order.

Originally the order was set to expire May 15 but the governor extended it to June 15.

When Manovill reopened his doors, he was not complying with the extension.

"Everybody has had a shared sacrifice on this. We can't turn a blind eye to somebody who is going to violate the order when every other business is following it," Donovan said.

According to the phased restart work safe guidance, fitness studios are still now allowed to reopen.

"This decision to stay open through this to help people physically and mentally is a thing of logic," Manovill said. "If we have 40 people crowded around a liquor store or going into a Dollar General to buy soda or toys or books for their kids, logically my little gym is going to be cleaner or safer than those nonessential businesses."

The lawsuit says police went to Club Fitness Friday morning and saw no hand sanitizing stations and people exercising within six feet of each other without masks.

Manovill disputes that and says this whole thing has turned into an unfortunate case between the state and a little business.

He gets to make his arguments before the court in two weeks.

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