Gym owner suing Virginia gov. represented by state senators

Virginia

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday April 8, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Northam gave an update on his COVID-19 plans. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CULPEPER, Va. (AP) — Two Republican Virginia senators are representing a gym owner suing the Gov. Ralph Northam for closing down his gyms due to COVID-19.

State Sens. Bill Stanley and Ryan McDougle filed a lawsuit April 21 in Culpeper County on behalf Merrill C. “Sandy” Hall, who owns several Gold’s Gym facilities across Virginia.

The lawsuit argues Northam exceeded his authority when ordering the closure of non-essential businesses such as gyms, hair salons and more on March 23.

The lawsuit seeks a court injunction that would immediately reopen those types of businesses.

Nonessential businesses are, at this time, set to be closed in Virginia until early May. 

On Wednesday, Attorney General Mark Herring filed a brief defending Northam’s executive orders and requesting the injunction be denied.

“Finally, as steward for all of the Commonwealth’s people, the Governor is not—at absolute minimum—required to adopt the Darwinian approach to public health and safety urged by petitioners. As tragic experience has already shown, the virus spreads rapidly throughout communities, and when healthcare systems become overrun, patients, healthcare workers, and the broader public all suffer,” Herring wrote in one part of the brief.

A Chincoteague church is also challenging Northam’s order against gathering after it was cited for holding a church service in early April.

RELATED: Chincoteague church sues Gov. Northam for COVID-19 orders preventing gathering for worship

A court hearing in the Culpeper case is scheduled for April 30 at 10 a.m.

Attorney General Herring’s full brief can be read here.


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