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'I fully believe gyms are essential' | Petition pleads for gyms in St. Louis, St. Louis County to reopen

"I don't look at this as a 'us or them' thing, I want to work with Sam Page and with his office, so we can figure out a plan together," the petitioner said

ST. LOUIS — May 18 is inching closer.

It's the day some businesses reopen in St. Louis city and county.

RELATED: Here's what we know about the plans to reopen St. Louis city and county

But for gyms, doors will stay locked a bit longer.

RELATED: Which St. Louis businesses will be able to open on May 18?

As for House of Pain in Chesterfield and Maryland Heights, they continue to have a tight grip on operations.

They announced they will stay open, despite getting a cease and desist letter from St. Louis County, as stay-at-home orders are still in place.

RELATED: 2 gyms in St. Louis County open despite stay-at-home order

State Representative Dottie Bailey, a Republican, supports their stand.

"The owner of the gym, he's not backing down. This is his livelihood, he pays bills, and feeds his family. I respect that a lot," she said.

She said Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat, also respects their decision. 

Bailey said even though they're on different sides of the aisle, they agree on this. 

"We agree to disagree a lot, but she’s a big advocate for mental health and so am I," Bailey said.

Bailey believes gyms should open.

"Our state orders to open up May 4," she said. "We've got to strike balance and be able to do this."

County Executive Dr. Sam Page, a Democrat, said the regulations are because of how contagious COVID-19 is, especially in the businesses they say are "high risk."

RELATED: Some St. Louis County businesses left out of May 18 reopening plan

John Farkas, owner of Blue Ocean Fitness in Chesterfield, thought gyms would be apart of the reopening list for Phase One.

"I was looking forward to reopening on up the 18th and after seeing that announcement that's when I decided to take action. I fully believe gyms are essential," Farkas said.

That's when he decided to take his efforts online and create a petition to reclassify micro gyms, pilates, and yoga studios in St. Louis city and county. 

The petition was created on Saturday and in 24 hours, they've had over 1,000 signatures. 

Farkas believes gyms are essential. Exercise benefiting physical and mental health.

"People come to us for a variety of reasons. Many are health-related. Our clients really need us. For us, it's more than economics. We’re their outlet in a storm, we’re their rock that keeps them stable," Farkas explains.

He says he's already taken the proactive steps to make it safe. 

He tells 5 On Your Side, he hopes things can work out and they can step in the right direction.

"I don't look at this as a 'us or them' thing, I want to work with Sam Page and with his office, so we can figure out a plan together. We believe we can do this and we can provide a safe and clean environment," he says.

As far as the cease and desist letter on House of Pain, 5 On Your Side reached out to the county for a statement. They said they do not comment on litigation matters.

But in the past, they've said, they can pursue legal action.

RELATED: What could legally happen if you get busted breaking stay-at-home orders

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