ST. LOUIS, Mo- The Wheelhouse in downtown St. Louis remains empty tonight, during a time when it’s usually packed. St. Louis leaders have ordered it closed for the next 12 months.
One of the owners, Jared Ater, told us “The last 48 hours have kind of been a blur.”
Ater and his partners Nick Delglaiso and Stephan Savage met for the first time, via Zoom today, with the State Representative who is fighting on their behalf – Nick Schroer. Fox 2 set it up.
Rep. Schroer said, “I’m not just speaking for these three gentlemen, but speaking for every hardworking American who either owns a business or who is employed by somebody who is going through tough times right now.”
We saw first-hand today, Wheelhouse’s 10,000 square feet of empty space. It’s a contrast from what the St. Louis Health Department captured in photos that are contained in the government’s order demanding it shut down.
Rep. Schroer added, “You look at the penalties here – and does the penalty meet the alleged offense? I think it goes above and beyond and I think it’s unjust and I think inappropriate.”
He’s holding a committee hearing next week to fight back.
Nick Delgaiso said, “It really means the world to us, and also from our staff. The outpouring from our staff of support. They all want to come down to Jeff City. They want to be part of the process as well. You’ve actually responded to two of our employees on Twitter. You probably didn’t even know they work for us.”
Steven Savage added, “This whole realm is new to us. We’ve never had to use a lawyer before (the pandemic). We’ve never had a blemish on our career. We’ve never been in bad standing in any city where we’ve been in business.”
In Illinois meanwhile, two St. Clair County businesses ordered to shut down – have refused. Juan Gilliam of George’s Pub in East Carondelet told us today – he opens every day in defiance, despite being stripped of his food and liquor licenses for Covid related violations.
Also Route 13 Diner, formerly Moore’s Restaurant sent us photos – taken today – revealing their refusal to close despite being stripped of its occupancy permit over Covid enforcement.
Both Illinois business owners reported finding strength in numbers – and that surrounding businesses have also now opened in defiance with no further action from health inspectors.
St. Louis’ Wheelhouse says it will close, in response their order – while it watches what comes of Missouri Rep Schroer’s effort.
Jared Ater added, “135 people we just told – you don’t have a job – potentially up to a year.”
The people behind Wheelhouse, who also own two other bars ordered to remain shuttered, plan to be in Jefferson City next Tuesday for the hearing they hope will allow them to fight back.