St. Paul, MN — The St. Paul (MN) City Council voted unanimously last month to allow 24-hour key-card clubs, such as Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness, to operate without an employee present in the club at all times.
The city council made amendments to a city ordinance — originally put in place in 1989 to crack down on prostitution rings — which disallowed health clubs to be run without supervision. Some of the key amendments to the revised ordinance state that clubs must be on the ground level of commercial buildings, have surveillance systems and provide at least one automatic electronic defibrillator.
The council's vote has the support of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
“We, of course, are pleased by the outcome,” says Mark Daly, corporate spokesperson for Anytime Fitness. “We believed all along that Anytime Fitness clubs provide a safe and secure environment for our members and staff. Mayor Chris Coleman has been a strong advocate of convenient and affordable fitness clubs like Anytime Fitness for quite some time. Without his help, the new rules never would have been passed.”
Anytime Fitness, Hastings, MN, had three clubs in St. Paul operating from about 5 a.m. to midnight, but those clubs were to resume operating 24 hours by the end of October, Daly says. Anytime Fitness plans to open three more clubs in St. Paul in the coming months, Daly adds.
Snap Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, plans to open its first three clubs in St. Paul under the ownership of franchisee Ben Cowan, who chose not to open the clubs until the ordinance was changed.
“We're thrilled that the council voted in favor of allowing 24/7 fitness clubs to operate in St. Paul,” says Snap Fitness corporate spokesperson Patrick Strait. “We understand the reasons for why it took as long as it did, but the fact of the matter is that times and technology have changed. Our local franchise owner in St. Paul, Ben Cowan, has worked hard to make this a reality, and we commend his efforts and look forward to supporting his success in St. Paul moving forward.”