PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Superior Court judge on Friday granted the state’s request for a temporary restraining order against Maxx Fitness Clubzz, meaning its locations in Lincoln and Warren have to shut down for the time being.
Owner Matthew D’Amico told 12 News that both gyms would be closing at 9 p.m. Friday.
The gyms had stayed open this week despite Gov. Gina Raimondo’s two-week pause calling for all types of fitness centers to close. The pause began on Monday and lasts through Sunday, Dec. 13.
On Wednesday, state inspectors visited both locations and issued them compliance orders and $500 citations.
D’Amico said if the gyms were forced to shut down again, they may not be able to reopen. He’s hopeful they’ll be able to when the pause lifts on Dec. 13.
The R.I. Department of Health said the temporary restrictions and closures are necessary to reduce transmission rates. The agency’s attorney, Morgan Goulart, called Maxx Fitness staying open a direct threat to Rhode Islanders’ health, with hospitals filling up and their staffs stretched thin.
But, the attorney representing Maxx Fitness, Charles Calenda, said the same things the Health Department claims are an issue can be addressed.
“The dangers can be mitigated by wearing face coverings, limiting in-person interactions as much as possible — particularly indoors — keeping a distance of six feet at all times between individuals, washing hands, cleaning, disinfecting,” he explained.
Calenda also said it’s unfair that other businesses like hair and nail salons and physical therapy can operate.
Gyms are not unique, however, because restaurants, movie theaters, and bowling alleys have also been hit hard by the pandemic, health officials noted.