Banned from Reopening, New York Gyms Are Planning to Sue the State

Hundreds of gyms are joining on on the lawsuit.

Hundreds of New York gyms are unhappy that they’ve been removed from the state’s list of businesses that are allowed to resume operations.

Most of the state (except New York City) is now in Phase 4 of reopening — the final phase before all businesses can resume as normal. Phase 4 allows zoos, museums, and higher education institutions to reopen, as well as movie productions, professional sports (without fans in the stands) and others. (Here’s a list of the businesses allowed to open in the various phases.) But days before Phase 4 began in New York, Governor Cuomo removed gyms and movie theaters from the list.

In retaliation, a class action lawsuit against the state is being planned, led by the owner of Long Island’s SC Fitness, Charlie Cassara.

The Background

New York has been having a rough go of it during the pandemic, at one point having more coronavirus cases than any country on Earth. (Except the US, of course. Since NY is in the US. You get it.)

Now the situation has seen something of a reversal: states that were doing relatively well during New York’s darkest days, like Florida, California, and Texas, are now seeing thousands of new cases per day. New York is now seeing fewer than 700 new cases per day and the state is reopening.

The Lawsuit

Fox & Friends says that thousands of gyms have joined in his lawsuit, while NBC says it’s about five hundred.

“They decided last minute to come on board,” said Cassara on Fox. “The truth is we’re no different to any other gym in the state, the country. It just comes down to: it’s Phase 4, there are no other phases, we deserve the opportunity to open up under the CDC guidelines set forth. We were ready to do that. We’re not even given any answers, we have no layout, we just have ‘You’re not in Phase 4, we’ll talk to you guys when we’re good and ready.’”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SC Fitness ( on

“Why are malls, gyms, and movie theaters being treated differently than tattoo parlors, to Wal-Mart, to Target, to tanning salons?” Cassara’s laywer, James Mermigis, said on Fox & Friends. (Malls will be allowed to open on Friday.) Mermigis also said he’ll be making a takings claim as part of the lawsuit: “Either open up the gyms or pay us.” 

“Liquor stores, ice cream parlors, delis, they can all open. But fitness is a public health danger? Listen to how ridiculous that sounds!” said Dennison Silvio of Rockville’s Sportset Health & Fitness. “We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to fortify the club and be COVID compliant.”

A spokesman for Governor Cuomo said he couldn’t comment on the suit, but that,

there are some things that don’t fit neatly into a phase that are going to require further study and we’re going through that right now. We’re not going to be like other states that are inviting a second wave.

They plan to file an injunction on Friday and expect a response from the state next week.

Featured image via on Instagram.