Judge rejects gym owner’s petition to reopen facilities

Judge rejects gym owner’s petition to reopen facilities
At a hearing Thursday, the judge said Virginia law gives the governor broad authority to issue executive orders during a public health emergency (Source: WALB)

CULPEPER, Va. (AP) - A Virginia judge has rejected a petition from a gym owner who sought to reopen his facilities despite an executive order requiring the closure of fitness centers and other nonessential businesses.

At a hearing Thursday, the judge said Virginia law gives the governor broad authority to issue executive orders during a public health emergency. Merrill Hall, who owns multiple gyms in the state, sued the governor in Culpeper County Circuit Court. He said the governor exceeded his authority and that the closures have him on the brink of financial ruin.

Virginia Solicitor General Toby Heytens argued that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders are reasonable considering the public health threat.

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