Ferguson files lawsuits against two gyms that continue to operate despite stay-home order

OLYMPIA — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed lawsuits against two gyms that continue to operate in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home order.

The business owners, Michael J. Baker and Shane D. Cowhig of Fitness 101 Team Puyallup, more commonly known as Northwest Fitness Co., and Michael and Richard Jellison of Power Alley Fitness, more commonly known as PA Fitness in Arlington, received multiple warnings about remaining open, according to a news release from Ferguson's office.

Ferguson said not only are the businesses in violation of the governor's order, he's also accusing them of unfair business practices by opening while competing gyms remain closed.

The state says it will not seek monetary penalties if they close within 24 hours.

Both businesses received cease-and-desist orders on Friday giving them 48 hours to close or face a lawsuit. Ferguson said both gyms continue to operate.

(Click here for Northwest Fitness Co.’s letter, and here for PA Fitness’ letter)

“The Stay Home, Stay Health order is necessary for public health. The COVID-19 virus spreads easily from person to person and the only way to control it, and save lives, is to maintain social distancing, including closing nonessential businesses. By keeping your business open, you are endangering the lives of your customers and your community," the letters state.

“It is also unfair to your competitors for you to be open for business while they are complying with the Proclamation and making sacrifices for the benefit of the community."

The city of Arlington has also threatened to revoke PA Fitness's business license and impose daily fines.

Under the governor's phased reopening plan, gyms will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity during Phase 3. Currently, most of the state is still in Phase 1.

Q13 News is reaching out to both gym owners today. Check back for updates on this developing story.