Restaurants, bars protest latest restrictions in St. Louis County: 'Can you only get COVID at a restaurant?'

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CLAYTON, Mo (KMOX) - Restaurant and bar owners, waiters, bartenders, other staff and supporters of those who are defying the latest COVID-19 restrictions in St. Louis County gathered for a protest Thursday morning. They shouted outside County Executive Dr. Sam Page office telling him to "stay open."

Nearly 100 people where at St. Louis County governmental offices in Clayton. They say their being singled out by the new restrictions – which prohibited indoor dining – while other businesses like salons and gyms can still let customers inside.

"Can you only get COVID at a restaurant, but not anywhere else?" stated a petition organizing the protest." Businesses in this industry are barely surviving with the limited capacity and now we are putting them in much worse position than they are already in."

A bartender says she has two children and living paycheck-to-paycheck. Another bar owner says he's been struggling for months and is fighting to keep his doors open.

restaurants protest
Photo credit (Kevin Killeen, KMOX)

On Tuesday, the new safer at home order went into effect in the county, which prohibited indoor dining, limits the reasons people should be leaving their homes and limits businesses to operate at 25% capacity until the spread of the virus slows down. But not every business has been abiding.

About 40 bars and restaurants in the county have joined a lawsuit against Page and the county. Many are staying open to indoor dining despite the new public health order.

Page addressed those restaurants who refuse to close during his Wednesday press conference.

"By going against public health experts, you're telling public health workers that you don't appreciate or respect the sacrifices they are making to keep you safe and your family safe," Page says.

Page says he doesn't know why any family would want to eat at a restaurant defying public orders.

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