An athletic club in central NewYork is suing the state over coronavirus-triggered mandates thatforced their gyms to close.

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The Aspen Athletic Club filed thelawsuit in a state court last week, arguing that Gov. Andrew Cuomodid not provide any procedural due process before issuing lockdownorders. 

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The athletic club operates fourgyms throughout Onondaga County and employs 160 county residents,according to the lawsuit. Since mid-March and the lawsuit's filing,the club has been forced to close the fitness facilities due toexecutive orders from Cuomo, who is listed as a defendant in thesuit, according to the litigation.

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Central New York is in the finalphase of New York's reopening plan, however gyms are not listedamong the businesses allowed to reopen. The phase doesallow for the reopening of higher education, "low-risk" indoor artsand entertainment and professional sports with no fans, among otheractivities.

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As the intensity of the coronavirus crisis haswaned in New York, state officials have allowed certain industriesto reopen by region.

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The athletic club's lawsuitreflects boiling frustrations from businesses not yet allowed toreopen in New York, but burdened with months of closures and a downeconomy.

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The athletic club owes nearly$400,000 in back rent and 1,400 people have cancelled theirmemberships, according to the lawsuit filed last week. The businesscannot afford to stay closed, according to the lawsuit, which saidthe club can provide its service in a sanitary and sociallydistanced environment. 

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The litigation is one in a stringof lawsuits over New York's various coronavirus-inducedrestrictions. 

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The lawsuit also noted Cuomo'scomments about demonstrators who had gathered in large crowds toprotest the killing of Black Americans by police. The Democrat hasexpressed support for the demonstrations.

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"The only conclusion you drawfrom that is that thousands of people can march together throughoutthe State and there is no public health issue for marches, butsomeone who wants to open their gym with CDC safety guidelines isendangering the public," the lawsuit reads. 

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"There is either a public healthemergency or there's not. It cannot be both," the lawsuitsays.

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The litigation cites theFourteenth Amendment and says the executive orders deprived theathletic club of equal protection of the law.

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"In short, [the athletic club]brings this lawsuit to define the limits of a State's policepower," according to the lawsuit.

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Ryan Tarinelli

Ryan Tarinelli is a reporter at the New York Law Journal. He is based at the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York. He can be reached through email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ryantarinelli.