A Life Time fitness club sprawls like a small city, 130,000 square feet of treadmills, pools, yoga studios and smoothie cafes. Opening or closing a location requires byzantine scheduling changes for 250 employees and thousands of members.

So founder Bahram Akradi was furious at having to shut five clubs in Arizona on Monday evening -- with just a few hours’ notice from Governor Doug Ducey -- despite nightly deep cleaning and other steps to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“No grocery store has taken our measures,” Akradi said. “No Home Depot has taken our measures. No business has taken the measures we have.”

Governors are taking swift action to combat a resurgence of virus cases, especially in the U.S. South and West, which again threatens to overwhelm hospitals and set back America’s nascent economic recovery. The nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said Tuesday that coronavirus case counts could more than double to 100,000 a day if behaviors don’t change.

The new surge is creating a parade of grim superlatives. Florida’s Miami-Dade County reported its highest numbers of hospitalizations, intensive-care patients and ventilator use in at least two months. In Houston, intensive-care units hit 97% of normal capacity as Texas reported a record number of new cases.

The numbers are spooking governors who had hurried to reopen their economies, many at the urging of President Donald Trump, and they are pausing -- if not reversing -- the process. Arizona, Florida, Colorado and Texas forced bars and nightclubs to close in recent days, while Arizona expanded the shutdown to gyms, water parks and movie theaters. Other states are reconsidering allowing restaurants to reopen dining rooms.

Already hammered by two months of lockdowns, businesses say they’re unfairly being targeted because of the actions of a few operators, including an East Lansing, Michigan, bar linked to dozens of infections among young people. Even owners who approve of shutdowns are frustrated at the sudden changes in direction, which are costing them thousands of dollars in lost merchandise and forcing them to furlough people they’ve just brought back.

Jeffrey Bank, who heads Alicart Restaurant Group, was eager to reopen Carmine’s restaurant inside the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Thursday, even at 25% capacity. Then Governor Phil Murphy indefinitely delayed the restart of indoor dining, citing what he calls “knuckleheads” who flouted social distancing rules.

Bank figures he’ll lose $100,000. He donated all the food his staff had prepared and let go of about 100 people whom he’d just recently rehired.

“I don’t know why one brush paints everyone,” Bank said. “Having a restaurant inside a casino is not the same as having a bar in the middle of New Jersey. They’re different animals. A casino is a controlled, secure environment. Why is it all or nothing?”

First « 1 2 3 » Next