Every state wants to be first in something.

North Carolina on Tuesday, Sept. 1 will move into first place in the nation on restrictions on gyms and fitness centers.

New Jersey announced this week that it would allow gyms to open on Sept. 1, which means North Carolina will be able to claim the title of having the absolute toughest restrictions on gyms and fitness centers in the entire nation.

The credit for this honor goes completely to Gov. Roy Cooper, who has remained steadfast with executive order after executive order mandating that gyms and fitness centers in North Carolina remain closed.

It hasn’t been easy for Cooper. The owners of gyms and fitness centers sued Cooper for the right to open under a set of restrictions much like the restrictions on other businesses that have been allowed to open. But Cooper sent the state’s attorneys to court to defend his position that gyms and fitness centers remain closed and won.

The North Carolina General Assembly tried to get involved and passed a bill that would allow gyms and fitness centers to open under similar restrictions to other businesses allowed to open during Phase 2 of the shutdown of the state’s businesses. Cooper vetoed that bill.

Cooper has repeatedly said that he has based his executive shutdown orders during the COVID-19 crisis on “the science, the data and the facts.” But the fact that the governors of the other 49 states, both Democrats and Republicans, have viewed the science, data and facts about gyms differently has not swayed Cooper.

Cooper’s view of the science, the data and the facts is that gyms and fitness centers should remain closed and the fact that gyms open in the other 49 states have not become hotbeds of COVID-19 transmission is evidently not a fact that holds much weight.

Cooper’s current schedule still calls for North Carolina to move into Phase 3 of the shutdown process on Sept. 11, which should allow gyms to open. But Cooper’s original schedule called for Phase 2 to end on June 26, so it could certainly get extended again. But regardless of when Phase 2 finally ends, it appears that next week North Carolina will be number one in gym shutdowns in the entire USA.