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Rogersville business owner charged with violating state health order

The owner of a Rogersville business has been charged with violating the state’s emergency health order related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Aric Butler, D.C., owner of Doc’s Gym on U.S. Highway 72, has a June court date in Lauderdale County District Court on the misdemeanor charge.

The current, amended health order took effect at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 30. The order allowed retail businesses to reopen with capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines.

Under the order, “higher-risk businesses and activities” remain closed until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15.

The higher-risk businesses include entertainment venues (night clubs, bowling alleys, theaters, etc.), close-contact businesses (barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, nail salons, massage therapists, etc.) and “athletic facilities and activities.”

The health order’s list of “athletic facilities and activities” includes “fitness centers and commercial gyms.”

Rogersville Police Chief Brian Hudson said he personally made contact with Dr. Butler on Thursday night, April 30, and again on Friday morning, May 1.

Chief Hudson said Dr. Butler was given an opportunity to close the doors to the gym. The next step was a citation.

Chief Hudson said, “Dr. Butler refused the citation and was subsequently arrested on the misdemeanor charge.”

Chief Hudson noted that violations of the state health order are prosecuted by the state, not the municipal prosecutor, and that his department had not been proactively looking for violations.

Alabama law states that anyone who “knowingly violates or fails or refuses to obey or comply with any rule or regulation adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Health of this state shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $25.00 or more than $500.00[.]”

Chief Hudson said Doc’s Gym was one of two businesses his officers visited on Friday morning related to the health order.

The other business, a ‘close contact’ business, closed its doors after being advised of the health order.

A request for comment submitted to Dr. Butler was referred to his attorney.

Several attempts to contact his attorney were not successful as of this newspaper’s publication deadline.

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