Lee's Summit gym owner 'shredds' idea of mask mandate

Ryan Waters says he won't enforce county guideline
Shredd KC
Posted at 9:06 PM, Nov 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-22 11:48:50-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Despite a new round of COVID-19 restrictions in Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri, one locally owned gym has made it a point to not enforce wearing masks.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, the owner of Shredd KC in Lee's Summit said he does not require masks at his location.

"Since after the lockdowns (which I've lost tens of thousands of dollars from) I've had over 20,000+ visits to my gym," the post read, in part. "No masks and no Covid!!! Unbelievable how that works??"

Ryan Waters, Shredd KC's owner, told 41 Action News the Jackson County Health Department has visited his business twice "to try to shut me down, unsuccessfully, over the whole mask thing."

Under Kansas City and Jackson County's health orders, gyms are limited to 50% capacity and require masks at all times, as well as social distancing.

Businesses like Kansas City Barbell, another local gym, have not had to make any adjustments, according to the owner.

Jay Ashman told 41 Action News that his gym was one that had safety protocols in place before they were originally mandated.

“I can honestly, safely, say that I think we’re one of two gyms, I think City Gym is the other one, who actually mandated this stuff before the city did," Ashman said.

After the shutdown, Ashman said, his biggest concern was reopening safely in order to keep his clients healthy.

“Masks do help," he said, "and if you wear them properly and you clean them properly, they’re going to pretty much keep it out of your gym."

For Waters, while his business is open, he said he is taking precautions. There are no signs posted at Shredd KC that state masks are required to enter the establishment, but Waters said most people wear them inside and take them off to workout.

“Between every class we wipe everything down with wipes," Waters said. "I’m literally spending $1,000 a month on sanitary wipes to keep everything clean."

Still, Waters received a lot of backlash for his post and tried to clarify his remarks.

“The CDC says it’s not safe to do high intensive -- we do high intensity -- and they said it’s not safe to do high intensity with a mask on," Waters said. "So that’s what my whole post was about is like, I’m not making my clients wear a mask while they’re working out because it’s not safe."

Masks should be worn in public settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, but if performing a high-intensity activity, the CDC suggests moving outdoors where participants can keep at least 6 feet apart.