Defiant gyms face legal wrath from Olympia

PA Fitness in Arlington WA is being sued by state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, for partially re-opening in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee's Phase 1 virus restrictions. (photo: KOMO News)

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has issued a legal ultimatum to two different gym owners: close down voluntarily or go to court.

The Associated Press reports, Ferguson is suing Northwest Fitness Co., in Puyallup and Power Alley Fitness, or PA Fitness, in Arlington, arguing their partial re-opening to members in violation of Phase 1 endangers public health and engages in unfair business practices because their competitors have followed the state’s rules. That violates the state Consumer Protection Act, Ferguson said.

Ironically, the Phase 1 restrictions allow stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Fred Meyer to be open. Those stores sell home and kitchen products that competitors like Bed, Bath and Beyond also sell but the Phase 1 restriction prevents retail stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond from opening right now. That gives competitors like the aforementioned retailers an advantage over their competition. Yet there's no indication Wal-Mart, Target or Fred Meyer will be ordered by A.G. Ferguson to stop selling those items.

In a news release, Ferguson said his office sent both gyms final cease-and-desist letters last Friday.

Power Alley Fitness describes itself on its website as a fitness facility that’s in a fight with Washington’s government over its constitutional rights, and it asks for donations to help pay for legal fees. It calls fitness essential and says it wants to remain open while following social distancing and Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Last week, KOMO News interviewed the owner of Power Alley Fitness who described the safety measures the staff is taking to promote social distancing and check people's temperatures before entering to exercise.

Ferguson says the court can impose $2,000 fines per violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Any criminal charges would have to be filed by local prosecutors.

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