ST. LOUIS — The leader of Franklin County, Missouri, said he's ready for some businesses to reopen.
Starting this Saturday, movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and more will no longer be forced to keep their doors closed.
Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said it's time for businesses in Franklin County to thrive, and time for the people who live there to have a choice.
"Salons, tattoo parlors and massage studios have to stay closed because they can't stay in compliance with the 6 feet dictated by the state order," said Brinker.
The full list of businesses allowed to reopen beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday are:
- golf courses
- movie theaters
- concert halls
- exercise and fitness studios
- bowling alleys
- skating rinks
"That's not good for some and it's quasi okay for others because they can kind of walk back into the business sector," said Brinker.
Missouri's stay-at-home order is in effect through May 3. Wednesday afternoon, Governor Mike Parson said the decision to reopen early is up to the county.
The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit the area on Saturday — the same day some businesses are allowed to reopen. The head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said the peak of a pandemic is not the time to loose restrictions.
“The initial crest is our best estimate of when the number of infections among our people in the region will be at its highest point,” said Dr. Alex Garza. “And I think most people would agree that’s hardly a time to relax or let our guard down.”
Businesses still have to abide by the state's stay-at-home order, with no more than 10 people gathering together.
"We have to start looking at how we are going to come out and walk out of the situation and reintroduce the business sector and get the economy rolling again all while protecting the people," said Brinker.
Most non-essential businesses in Franklin County closed their doors in the middle of March.
As of April 22, there are 105 COVID-19 cases in the county and 10 deaths.
But commissioner Brinker said the cases are slowing down and it's time for businesses to pick back up.
"When you get your livelihood stripped away by the government for an enemy you can't see that cuts to your core belief factor, and you start questioning everything. And I am so grateful on behalf of the whole county for the people taking and making those sacrifices," added Brinker.
The owner of a movie theater in Franklin County said they're not going to open this weekend because they still have to comply with the state's stay at home order, which means they can't have more than 10 people in the building.