WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Vermont gym owner against the state over whether he could operate during the COVID-19 business restrictions this past spring.

The Vermont attorney general had sued Sean Manovill in May for operating Club Fitness in Rutland in violation of state rules. Manovill countersued, saying the state violated the Vermont Constitution with an “unlawful taking” of his business, WCAX-TV reported.

A judge on Tuesday ruled that the state, governor and attorney general did not violate Manovill’s constitutional or statutory rights.

"This decision is a win for Vermonters and Vermont businesses who have done the right thing and complied with the Governor's orders," said Attorney General T.J. Donovan in a statement Wednesday. “The Court's ruling confirms what Vermonters know and have done: We all have to do our part because we are all in this together.”

A phone message seeking comment was left for Manovill at Club Fitness on Wednesday.


In other developments related to the coronavirus in Vermont:


A Vermont welcome center at the train station in White River Junction is being closed permanently, another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The center, which was open seven days a week, was partially funded with a $37,500 grant from the state of Vermont. Low visitor numbers means the state is withdrawing that funding.

Acting Buildings and General Services Commissioner Jennifer M.V. Fitch tells the Valley News the state can no longer afford it.

“Now that we’ve taken it out of our budget, it will likely be difficult to put it back in in the future," Fitch said.

The building is owned by the state of Vermont and leased to the town of Hartford.

Long-time Manager Gayle Ottmann said people arriving in Vermont by train had friendly faces to greet them and provide information about the area.

“I am absolutely convinced that one of the reasons people come to Vermont is the one-on-one interaction they get,” she said. “It was just very unfortunate for those of us who worked there and put in the time there to have it gone.”


THE NUMBERS Vermont reported three new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, for a total so far of 1,752 cases. One person was hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by virus. The total number of deaths has remained at 58 for two months.

While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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