LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Owners of a Las Vegas gym say civil disobedience is their last resort and they will reopen against the governor’s orders even if it means jail time.
"People see us, the business owners that want to reopen, as bad people,” said CrossFit Apollo owner Chad Cole. “We aren't bad people. We understand that COVID is a real thing. But we also understand that our jobs are a real thing. Without us fighting for our livelihoods -- I have a baby at home. I have a wife that's a nurse that isn't getting hours and I have to provide for them and now I don't have that choice. It sucks."
Their original plan was to reopen Friday with safety measures they said were in line with CDC guidelines. But their Thursday staff meeting was interrupted by police officers they say threatened to arrest them and suspend their business license.
"Two officers walked in and began to threaten us with our business license, with jail time," Cole said.
"She started describing was jail was like and how I'd be at greater risk if I were in jail of catching the virus,” co-owner Monica Cole said. “I told her I wasn't afraid of jail."
"They thought that we weren't understanding their message, so they called their lieutenant. About 20 minutes later their lieutenant, along with their captain, came in and explained the same thing…and we're not going to back down," Chad Cole said.
"We showed them what they were doing here and they were not interested. Their whole thing was, directive 18, and they handed it to us and had the whole thing printed out saying, ‘you can't defy this. It's against the governor's orders. It's against the law.’ Chad said, no. That's not a law. It's a directive which happens to be against the constitution of the United States which you've made an oath to uphold," she said.
"We fully respect people's decision to stay home if they don't feel safe or if they're in one of those categories where they're a little more at risk and we fully support that. We just ask for the same courtesy," he said.
"And they were understanding what we were saying but, ‘we don't have a choice. We have to obey the governor's rules.’ They kept saying those things - all of them. And Chad told them, ‘you do have a choice. Your choice is to uphold the constitution of the United States or your job.’ And I can empathize with that. Chad told them; I get it. I have a family. But you are making a choice and you need to be aware of that."