CULPEPER, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge has rejected a petition from a gym owner who sought to reopen his facilities despite an executive order requiring the closure of fitness centers and other nonessential businesses.

At a hearing conducted by telephone Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Claude Worrell said Virginia law gives the governor broad authority to issue executive orders during a public health emergency.

Merrill Hall, who owns a chain of Gold’s Gym franchises and other gyms — including Moneta and Roanoke — sued the governor in Culpeper County Circuit Court. He said the governor exceeded his authority and that the closures have him on the brink of financial ruin.