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St. Louis County takes gym to court for operating during stay-at-home order

House of Pain’s Chesterfield location on May 4. [Source: House of Pain Gym Chesterfield page]

St. Louis County announced on May 11 that it was going to court to force the closure of two House of Pain fitness center locations that have defied the county’s stay-at-home order. Specifically, it is seeking to file a temporary restraining order against both of House of Pain Gym Service’s locations – one in Chesterfield and another in Maryland Heights –  for disregarding the county’s order stating that gyms and fitness centers must remain closed.

One day prior to the suit filing, on May 10, House of Pain’s CEO Joe Corbett posted a video on Facebook stating that he had made a decision to keep both of the gyms open for business despite an order from St. Louis County to close their doors.

In another update video made on May 14, Corbett said both locations were open and are being actively attended by members.

“I want to be very clear, our purpose for doing this is not based on publicity, or picking a fight, or a showdown with the government,” Corbett said in the May 10 video. “That’s not our intention at all.” He went on to describe the county’s call for closure as an overreach.

Both gym locations opened their doors to members on May 4 despite the fact that the county’s stay-at-home order stated that select businesses could open no sooner than May 18. Gyms are not a category of businesses that will be allowed to open their doors on that date.

In a Facebook post made April 28, House of Pain wrote: “We want to ensure all our members that we have professionally sanitized and thoroughly cleaned both gyms, and we will continue these best practices as we move forward. We will also provide appropriate sanitizing supplies for members to use at the gym before and after use of the equipment.”

This post also encouraged individuals to adhere to social distancing protocols while inside the gym and to sanitize equipment before and after each use.

“We’re doing what we feel is right for small business and right for our members and the people we serve,” Corbett said in the May 10 video.

The suit was filed Monday, May 11 in the St. Louis County Circuit Court after multiple warnings were issued to the gyms. House of Pain was given a deadline of 5 p.m. on May 10 to shut down.

In addition to calling for both of House of Pain’s locations to close, the suit asks that Corbett supply a comprehensive list of names and contact information for individuals who have entered the gyms’ premises. This information would be sent to the county’s contact tracing team. The county also wants to test each of the individuals on the list for COVID-19 and for House of Pain to coverthat cost.

As of press time, the case remains ongoing.

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