ST. LOUIS — Some owners of smaller gyms in St. Louis County are hoping they can welcome back customers June 1. They're making the case that if the Missouri Gaming Commission is allowing casinos to reopen on that day, why can't they?
"We just don't feel like it's a justifiable scenario where casinos can open and gyms can't," said Ted Theodoropolus, owner of Burn Boot Camp gym.
Refusing to back down, Theodoropolus along with more than 30 other gym owners in St. Louis County are renewing their push to reopen.
"June 1 is the date that we're looking for. Anything beyond that, just to be candid, would be problematic for us," he added.
On Wednesday, Theodoropolus met with county leaders in hopes of convincing them to let some gyms reopen.
"We were hoping for an opening date, we were looking for criteria that the department wanted to see in order to have us open and we also wanted to understand that we were going to be managed separately, i.e boot camp gyms versus big box gyms," said Theodoropolus.
Fitness centers were not included in phase one of the county's reopening plan. The county health department pointed to the difficulties of wearing masks while working out and the amount of time gym goers spend in the same environment.
"And we're sort of waiting to hear the results, you know it seemed like the county and Dr. Page were open to hearing our concerns. I think they understand that the residents of St. Louis are ready for boutique gyms to reopen," said Nick Ahlering, owner of Orangetheory Fitness locations in Ladue and Chesterfield.
Ahlering said what makes his gyms different is their size, and they're more than equipped to social distance while working up a sweat.
"We're ready, it's just a matter of getting the green light from the county," said Ahlering. "No one has to come back. We just want to be available for the people that do."
The group of gym owners who met with the county Wednesday expects to have an opening date by the end of the week.
Gyms in the City of St. Louis also remain closed.