Clay Fitness Center to stay closed, abide by state's orders

Posted at 4:39 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 22:38:47-04

CLAY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The owner of Clay Fitness Center, Taye Napier, has decided to keep his gym closed after saying last week that he would reopen against the State's orders.

Last Tuesday, Napier told LEX 18 that he would reopen, with several restrictions, on May 11 because staying closed was becoming too much of a financial burden.

"We can't keep losing money every day," Napier said. "Spending money, not taking any in."

However, after the story aired, Napier said he received a call from the Health Department that ultimately changed his mind.

"I spoke with Health Department officials that stated that they were going to present me with a cease and desist order the first thing Monday when I opened up, which in turn could mean possible indefinite closure and fines," Napier said.

He also said that learning about a firm reopen date from the State made him hold off on opening.

When Napier first spoke to LEX18, he was in limbo and didn't know when gyms would be allowed to reopen.

On May 7, the Governor announced that gyms would be allowed to reopen on June 1.

LEX 18 asked the Governor's Office what prompted the announcement of a reopening date and when would specific details about gyms be made available, and a spokesman emailed the following response:

"Gov. Beshear and top leaders in his administration have worked with business leaders from many industries to determine guidelines for them to reopen while protecting employees and customers and reducing the spread of COVID-19.

They continue to work on guidelines for fitness centers, which will be shared along with other guidelines at [] when those are ready.

These businesses present a challenge because of the activities and number of people releasing fluids while exercising so this reopening date is one of the last to allow almost a month for leaders to work together to determine the safest guidelines for operating without spreading the coronavirus."

Napier said he will try to stay afloat for the next three weeks until he can reopen, but he said it will be tough.

"Although I disagree with the Governor's decision not to open gyms as of today, May 11, I understand that everyone has a job to do and I respect that," Napier said. "I also respect the fact that the Governor has seemed to have met us on middle ground and went ahead and put June 1st for opening day."

Napier said he plans to open on June 1st and he hopes his business will recover and be "better than ever".