Baton Rouge gym reopening Friday despite governor's extended stay-at-home order
BATON ROUGE – It’s empty inside of Calloway’s Health and Fitness off of Jefferson Highway. All of the gym equipment hasn’t been touched for weeks.
On Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards officially extended the stay at home order to May 15, requiring gyms and fitness centers to remain closed until then. But the owner of Calloway’s says he isn’t going to comply.
“I already told a bunch of members that we were opening and we're in the first phase. Now [the Governor] changed his mind and it’s too late to call all of the people back because I don’t know who all I talked to,” Donnie Calloway said.
Calloway says starting at 5 a.m. Friday, he will be letting members workout again inside.
“We have an acre underneath the roof, more than 40,000 sq. ft., and five different weight rooms so hopefully we don’t get too packed,” Calloway said.
Calloway says he’ll be taking the right precautions to not spread any germs.
“We’re going to have extra people walking around. We have extra cameras installed so I can watch. Everyone is going to play it by common sense,” he said.
There are gloves and masks available when members walk in.
“We're totally sanitized now. The equipment hasn't been touched other than wiped down three times in the last month and a half,” Calloway said. “We’re only selling health here. If you’re sick please don’t come.”
Opening up his gym, though, is going against the governor’s orders. During a press conference Thursday, the Governor said the Louisiana Department of Health and Fire Marshal’s Office will be enforcing his extended stay at home order. Calloway is not worried.
“If I go to jail, I'll just rest,” he said.
The gym owner argues if other stores are open, he should be allowed to open his gym too. And that's exactly what he's going to do.
“I'm super excited,” Calloway said.
Only members 18 years and older will be allowed to use the gym. There will be no workout classes offered. Calloway says about 1,500 people have memberships at the gym.
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