CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS Local) — An Iowa gym owner reopened his business Friday, defiantly daring authorities to “come arrest me” for violating state orders designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Jason Bailey, who owns Custom Fitness in Cedar Rapids, argues that Governor Kim Reynolds’ public health emergency proclamation, signed last Wednesday, infringes on his and his customers’ First Amendment right to assembly.
“When the constitution says that we have unalienable rights that cannot be infringed upon, and when they say something that infringes upon them, I don’t see how you can interpret it any other way,” Bailey told KCRG.
Gyms that choose to reopen in Linn and 21 other counties across the state are currently only allowed to have one person inside at a time on an appointment-only basis.
There are about 25 cars in the parking lot of Custom Fitness. The owner has been operating as normal since May 8th. That’s despite @KimReynoldsIA saying gyms could only have one person in at a time. @iowasnewsnow pic.twitter.com/XsjztVwq4Y
— David Amelotti (@KGANDavid) May 12, 2020
But while Custom Fitness implemented some safety measures, it’s letting all of its members walk in and work out whenever they want.
The Cedar Rapids Police Department said it is investigating the situation and Bailey said police told him they’re asking the Linn County Attorney to review it.
“I told them to come arrest me,” Bailey said. “If they didn’t like it, come arrest me. I called them. I said, ‘I’m across town. Do you want me to come to the gym? Do you want me to check in to the county jail? Do you want me to go the police station? What do you want me to do?’ ‘Well, we don’t need to go there.’ I said, ‘OK, have a good day.'”
People who violate the governor’s orders could face a simple misdemeanor charge and fine of up to $625, though officers have said that would be applied only a last resort.