ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- There is one set of business still blocked from re-opening in St. Louis City and County: gyms. And that’s left some business owners saying they’re not getting a fair shake.
Some gyms have tried taking the county to court, since they’re still required to be shut down right now.
But other business owners are just pleading for the county to listen to them.
“It’s been scary, it’s been scary because the possibility of not being able to reopen ever is a real possibility,” said Natalie Sotto.
A veteran and small business owner, she can’t wait to welcome clients back to her boutique pilates business 314 Pilates in University City.
“We see everyone from in a wheelchair to performance athletes and it was catastrophic for our business to close down,” she said.
She’s now ensured proper spacing, is prepared to constantly sanitize, and will even provide socks and lay down special towels to prevent the spread of germs.
“We are making the preparations, we are ready,” she said.
But despite all that, her business, like other gyms and fitness centers, still cannot legally open up.
“It is medically necessary,” said Joe Corbett, the owner of House of Pain gym locations in Chesterfield and Maryland Heights.
Patrons at House of Pain have been working out anyway. For weeks, the owner has been defying the county’s order to close.
“It seems to me the people making the decisions are out of touch with reality,” Corbett previously told News 4.
The county is trying to take them to court, Monday, at a virtual hearing, the gym’s attorney moved the case to federal court.
“All he's trying to do is continue to let the gym stay open despite a lawful public health order, a constitutional order,” said Assistant County Counselor Steve Capizzi.
“We are planning on starting very slow, one client at a time,” said Sotto.
Meanwhile, Natalie says she just wants to get her business moving again.
“I am definitely hoping it’s a matter of days,” she said.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told News 4 he wants the gyms opened too. He says he is following public health experts who say gyms are at high risk for transmission of the coronavirus, especially on equipment. He says gyms will likely open in phase two of the re-opening plan. It is unclear when that will be.