Arizona Department Of Health Services Director Director Christ Doubles Down On Extended Gym Closure

By Vaughan Jones, Rocio Hernandez
Published: Monday, August 3, 2020 - 4:15pm
Updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - 7:46am

Dr. Cara Christ
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Dr. Cara Christ explains June 4, 2020, why Arizona has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ doubled down Monday morning on her belief that gyms and fitness centers cannot safely operate during a pandemic. 

“The person who has COVID-19, if they are breathing vigorously, they can actually concentrate the virus in droplets that can land on surfaces,” Christ said.

Her statements coincide with a Maricopa County Superior Court case, conducted by an attorney for Mountainside Fitness, to reverse the order for gym closures in the county.

Legal representatives from multiple gyms in Maricopa County have criticized Christ and Gov. Doug Ducey, saying they are choosing to follow certain recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force but ignoring others.

Mountainside Fitness
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Mountainside Fitness gym in Phoenix on July 1, 2020.

Last week, Will Humble, Arizona’s former health director who now heads the Arizona Public Health Association, said gyms and fitness centers can be operated just as safely as other businesses currently open under strict, proposed guidelines by the state.

He said it’s scientifically wrong for Gov. Ducey to put gyms in the same risk category as bars. 

"Exercise equipment can be easily spaced out for proper social distancing,'' he said. "Fitness center members are not ingesting alcohol and are not inebriated, and therefore can read printed wall signs discussing member hygiene requirements and can use good judgment to comply — or be asked to leave.''

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