On January 20, 2021

AG settles with Rutland gym owner over executive order violation

Club Fitness owner to comply with governor’s orders and pay $1,000 to the Vermont Foodbank

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced, Friday, Jan. 15 that his office has reached a settlement with Club Fitness of Vermont, Inc. and its, owner Sean Manovill, resolving claims that arose from Manovill’s decision to open for in-person business in May 2020 against the governor’s orders.

At the time that Club Fitness reopened, fitness centers were required by Governor Scott’s executive order to be closed to slow the spread of Covid-19. The Attorney General’s Office filed a civil enforcement complaint in May 2020, alleging violations of Vermont’s emergency management statutes and Executive Order 01-20.

Shortly thereafter, a court granted the attorney general’s motion for a temporary restraining order, closing the gym.

Under the terms of the settlement announced last week, Club Fitness and Mr. Manovill agree that they will comply with the governor’s executive order and all addenda and will make a $1,000 payment to the Vermont Foodbank’s Rutland regional distribution center.

Gyms are now allowed to resume operation with restrictions, including occupancy limits and restrictions on use of locker rooms and other common areas.

“These are tough times for all Vermonters, including Vermont’s small businesses,” said Attorney General Donovan. “But even in these tough times, we all have to do our part. The vast majority of Vermonters have done the right thing by following the executive orders and the advice of public health experts. I thank all Vermonters who have been making, and continue to make, sacrifices during this time.”

After the state filed its enforcement action last spring, Club Fitness and Mr. Manovill filed a countersuit against the state alleging that the executive order was unconstitutional. A judge dismissed those claims in September 2020.

The settlement was filed in the Rutland Superior Court Jan. 15 for final approval by the court.

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