SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – One day after announcing the suspension of liquor licenses for two restaurants at Life Time Biltmore, the Arizona Department of Liquor said the gym's refusal to close has cost the company another license.
The Life Cafe and Bistro at Life Time North Scottsdale was cited Wednesday. Like the restaurants at the Life Time Biltmore, the Life Cafe and Bistro at the Scottsdale location is owned by LTF Operations Company Inc.
Both gyms remained open in defiance of an executive order to shut down for a month. Gov. Doug Ducey called Monday's action a "one-month pause" meant to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. The closure order also applies to bars, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing rentals. Many gym owners, however, are challenging the order.
Ducey's order allows "law enforcement or any regulatory body" to go after businesses not in compliance with the shutdown.
"The club's actions presented a risk to the community in furthering the spread of COVID-19, and with this, jeopardizing the health, safety, and welfare of the public," according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Liquor. "According to Director [John] Cocca, the decision to suspend the license at Life Café and Bistro was straightforward, as its ownership had demonstrated a continued willingness to violate the law, especially in light of having its licensed businesses at Life Time Biltmore suspended less than 24 hours earlier."
A spokeswoman for Life Time sent Arizona's Family a statement after the license suspensions at Life Time Biltmore.
Life Time remains incredibly committed to our members, who have clearly indicated their desire to have uninterrupted access to the expansive array of health and entertainment services, amenities and programs we provide. Additionally, in support of the nearly 1,500 Life Time team members in Arizona, we are concerned with further disrupting their livelihoods after the challenging impact posed by the shutdowns in place since mid-March.
With this in mind, we intend to continue serving members in every area of the club. We can attest that our enhanced cleaning protocols and safety measures in our spacious destinations are in compliance with the guidance issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services with respect to COVID-19. Because of this and the ample space provided by our large health, fitness and entertainment destinations, we believe Life Time is as safe as other businesses, including those remaining unaffected by these revised restrictions. Of course, we continue to uphold appropriate social distancing measures and the requirement that masks be worn in common areas and anytime physical distancing is not possible.
Arizona's Family asked Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, about the mandate to close gyms.
"There has been evidence of increased breathing, especially when you are exercising, when you are singing, when you are yelling, or when you are shouting," Christ said. "We know that increases the transmission of COVID-19. We also know that in that type of environment, it's very had to wear a mask. It's also difficult to physically distance, and it's difficult to disinfect the machinery. We just want to make sure Arizonans are taking every precaution to prevent ... transmitting COVID-19."
Arizona has been reporting record numbers of coronavirus cases in the last few weeks. Hospitals in Arizona are hitting max capacity at 89% of the ICU beds in use.