Life Time asked Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s office to prove that the state has data to support gym closures amid COVID-19.
Walz ordered all the gyms in the state to close last week. This order took effect on Saturday, will last for four weeks and marks the second time the governor has shut down Minnesota’s workout facilities. Life Time CEO Bahram Akradi said the shutdowns are unnecessary, as only .00004% of the 21 million visits to his gyms since May have resulted in COVID transmission.
In light of this, the fitness company recently requested to inspect the state’s “data and analyses tracing or associating the spread or transmission of COVID-19 to or with any gymnasium, fitness facility, or pool.” The wording of this request seems to cast doubt on the validity of the numbers that allegedly support Walz’s decision to close gyms.
Life Time’s lawyers also wants the governor’s office to reveal “the system, process, procedure, or methodology used to pair, trace, or otherwise associate the spread of COVID-19 to or with any gymnasium, fitness facility, or pool in Minnesota.”
This request was made in accordance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which ensures “the right of the public to access government data,” per the state.
A full list of the company’s demands of the state are seen below:
“Heath clubs are not the problem, they are the solution to maintaining public health,” Akradi said. “[Gyms are,] in fact, the safest environments people may visit as compared with other forms of retail, entertainment, or any other place, at this time,” he added.
Following Walz’s most recent round of closures, Life Time alone was forced to furlough 4,000 of its employees. Meanwhile, Minnesota jobless claims remain at their highest recent levels since the 2009 recession, according to data collected by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, presented by Minnesota Compass.
Walz’s recent order also applies to bars and restaurants, which employ over 275,000 Minnesotans and generated $10.7 billion in 2018, per the National Restaurant Association.
The holiday season has not gone untouched either. The state recently implemented a measure that bans gatherings of 10 or more people and groups of any size that involve parties from more than three households, including the host. This measure went into effect on Nov. 13, with no projected end date, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The governor’s order stipulates that violations of his decree can result in a 90 day jail term.