NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The frustration grows for health and fitness club owners across the state who were forced to shut down more than two months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The owner of Muscleworx Fitness in New Hanover County has tried to reopen his doors throughout this pandemic to no avail. Now, owner Jason Morgan is filing a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against Governor Roy cooper’s orders.
“You’re refusing to allow somebody to work,” Morgan said. “To earn a living, and that’s an unalienable right.”
Owners of health and fitness clubs around the state feel singled out by the state’s orders keeping them from reopening.
“It’s hard to believe the healthiest place you could go, is now labeled the worst place you can go,” Rich Hooton, who owns Body Sculptors in Greenville, said.
The frustration has mounted even higher as these owners are forced to keep their doors closed for the next several weeks of Phase 2 of reopening.
Morgan says he can’t wait any longer though because he’s already had to downsize to a smaller facility.
“One quarter of our year is gone,” he said. “That’s a whole tax season of no income.”
after reopening against the Governor’s orders a few weeks ago and being shut down again, Morgan isn’t sitting idle. He filed the lawsuit requesting a temporary restraining order on Wednesday.
“Obviously what we’re after is the right to be able to work,” he said. “To run our businesses.”
This comes the same day other gym and health club owners filed a joint lawsuit against the Governor. Owners around North Carolina banded together to file the same temporary restraining order.
“The end result for us is not looking for money, is not looking for damages, is not looking for anything but to be able to operate like the rest of the world is now,” Hooton said.
Hooton joined several other in the joint lawsuit. Thousands of people on the Facebook page, “Reopen NC’s Health Clubs” raised money to file the suit.
“We’re speaking for the entire community of North Carolina,” Hooton said. “We’re not being entrusted with the care of our membership.”
Similar to the joint lawsuit, Morgan hopes his own lawsuit can help more than just his business.
“I just want the right to work,” Morgan said. “I want the right to take care of the people nobody else is taking care of.”
A judge will still need to hear each of these lawsuits and make a ruling on whether to grant temporary restraining orders to these businesses.
Morgan hopes his case will be heard later this week or next week.