PICKENS, SC – A local gym owner in Pickens has been reopening his gym in contrast with state Governor Henry McMaster’s executive order shutting down non-essential businesses in light of COVID-19.
Gyms happened to be included in that shutdown order.
Yet, this business owner says the Constitution gives him all the authority he needs to keep his gym open.
They are losing their minds.
Police shut down Pickens SC gym twice; owner reopens anyway citing Bill of Rights
Owner of Fitness 365 claims Gov. McMaster's executive orders to close small businesses due to COVID-19 are unconstitutional.https://t.co/9VsVfe85Cq
— K. Washington (@peacelily1121) May 15, 2020
Larry Holliday operates the Fitness 365 gym based out of Pickens..
He’s recently had a few visits from the Pickens Police Department over keeping his gym doors open to the members who so decide to utilize the facility.
Thus far, units have been dispatched to the gym on May 12th and 13th, informing all the patrons inside the gym that they needed to leave the premises. Thereafter, officers placed signage upon the door noting that the business is closed until May 18th due to the governor’s orders.
Holliday promptly replaced said sign notifying the public that the gym is “closed” with a copy of the Bill of Rights.
He, once again, opened his gym.
Holliday is cognizant of the ongoing pandemic, but he’s among the population of folks that are beginning to see the “cure” become more detrimental than that of the pandemic itself:
“I understand that we do have a health crisis in this country, there’s no doubt about that. [There are] people dying, but there’s also people dying because of what has happened, what this has caused financially, and other ways.
I just feel like it’s time to take a stand.”
The gym owner is all too aware of Governor McMaster’s executive order that has closed numerous businesses within the state. While the closure of businesses like gyms and nail salons will be lifted come May 18th, Holliday feels that the rights of American’s have been suspended long enough:
“We have great gym members here, and they’re just ready to get out and they’re wanting to come in and so we’re just here for them. It makes me sick as an American citizen to see our rights trampled on.”
The Pickens Police Department released a statement in response to the stand being taken by Holliday:
“Police officers will inform citizens violating any executive order that they must disperse or cease their behavior. If the warning is ignored, citizens may be issued a citation in accordance with S.C. Code § 16-7-10 and fined up to $257.50.
Owners of businesses are also subject to a citation and fine if they violate any executive order issued by the Governor of South Carolina.”
Despite the warnings delivered by the local police pertaining to the governor’s orders, Holliday intends to keep his gym open as long as possible.
Frankie Shelton, who is the general manager at the Pickens Fitness 365, took to Facebook to give her support for the gym’s owner recently:
“I have always thought so much of Larry Holliday and all that he gives to our clients and us as staff!
Today this man got fed up with our constitutional rights being stripped away from us. He stood his ground and I am so proud to call him not only my boss .. but my friend!”
Shelton had reached out in a subsequent post to Deputy David Harrison from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, who is actively running for sheriff of the county, to gather his thoughts on what she described as “McMaster’s illegal orders” that have shut down small businesses.
Deputy Harrison responded to the post, commenting the following:
“I believe it’s a shame what ALL small business owners are going through. I fully support you guys 100%!!”