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Mesa Golfland Sunsplash Owner Sues Gov. Doug Ducey Over Water Park Closure

In a new lawsuit, a Mesa a water park owner is suing Gov. Doug Ducey for closing stand-alone water parks.

Attorney Joel Sannes, who represents Mesa Golfland Sunsplash, calls it unconstitutional discrimination, because water parks that are associated with hotels are allowed to stay open.

He said the water park has remained closed since late June, with no opportunity to even present evidence to state health officials that it can operate safely.

Sannes wants Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Janice Crawford to declare the governor's policy to be unconstitutional discrimination, allowing not just his client but the owners of other water parks around the state to once again have visitors.

“It’s looks to us like the governor has picked winners and losers, and the governor has decided that the winners are water parks that are associated with hotels, and the losers are the three stand alone water parks in Maricopa County," Sannes said.

All water parks and pools were closed in March as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. They were allowed to reopen in May if they followed certain guidelines.

But in June, Ducey reversed course and closed many businesses including the stand-alone parks. The order created an exception for "pools operated as part of a public accommodation, such as those at hotels'' as long as they enforced certain rules like keeping groups larger than 10 from congregating in, or near, the pool.

→  Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona 

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.