Durham martial arts school reopens, calls stay-at-home order unconstitutional

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Monday, a martial arts school in Durham went against the state and city stay-at-home orders and reopened their doors to the public.

Triangle Krav Maga in Durham is not allowed to open in phase one of the governor’s reopening plan because it is classified as a gym. Gyms will be able to open during phase two.

However, owner Molotov Mitchell, said his business could not wait any longer to reopen.

He said their school, which is also a combat training center, has taken a massive financial hit as they have lost 25 percent of their clients during the stay-at-home order.

“This has been cataclysmic for us,” Mitchell said. “Financially, it’s been devastating.”

Mitchell argued that if stay-at-home restrictions can be lifted for churches, then his business should be able to reopen as well.

“Churches are way more risky as far as infection than us training outside and socially distancing,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said they will be holding their martial arts classes outside for now and he has placed markers out to make sure everyone is six feet or more apart.

While more than 600 people have died from COVID-19 in North Carolina, he said that does not compare to the 1 million people who have lost their jobs in the state.

“These are jobs that are not coming back,” Mitchell said. “The shutdown and the cure has been worse than the illness.”

Gov. Roy Cooper has said they are asking businesses to voluntarily comply with the stay-at-home order. If they do not, local authorities can take action.

As for Mitchell, he said he is not afraid of being arrested or cited.

“I believe that the people who swore an oath to the Constitution, will hold up the Constitution instead of these unconstitutional orders,” Mitchell said. “This is not an act of defiance, or rebellion or anything like that. We’re just going back to work, that’s all we’re doing.”

So far, the Durham Police Department has not cited or arrested anyone for failure to follow the stay-at-home order.

Durham police said that they will continue to educate and inform Durham business owners regarding the stay-at-home order and encourage them to comply for the safety and well-being for all concerned.

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