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'We're not trying to hurt anybody' | Restaurant owners say they're being unfairly targeted by COVID-19 restrictions

“Have you been to Walmart?” he said. “Sam's? Home Depot? There are so many people. There are thousands of people and they touch everything. Why they should be open?”

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Restaurants and other businesses have been greatly impacted by COVID-19.

At Dominic’s on The Hill, owner Giovanni Galati is facing some restrictions, but not as many as he is at his Clayton location, where dine-in is prohibited.

“We're not trying to hurt anybody,” said Galati. “We're just trying to survive, especially around the holidays.”

It's enough to make the long-time St. Louis entrepreneur wonder if restaurants in St. Louis County are bearing an unfair brunt of COVID restrictions.

“Have you been to Walmart?” he said. “Sam's? Home Depot? There are so many people. There are thousands of people and they touch everything. Why they should be open?”

It may be understandable why restaurants are the target of COVID restrictions. After all, you can go to the hardware store and wear your mask the entire time you're inside. But at a restaurant, you have to take your mask off to eat.

At a Wednesday news conference, St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said, “We are headed past bars and restaurants and toward a greater shut down unless we can stop this virus in our community and get our hands around it.”

RELATED: 'We are headed toward a greater shutdown' | St. Louis County executive warns of more restrictions

“COVID is being laid at the feet of a lot of people that aren't responsible for it,"
St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer said. "You have to put a mask on to go into a restaurant, then you sit there for three hours without wearing a mask. But you have to put one on in order to walk out? That doesn't make sense.”