Bellmawr gym owners cited for reopening gym in violation of executive order

The owners of a Camden County gym have been issued a citation for reopening their gym in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 pandemic executive order.

News 12 Staff

May 18, 2020, 3:59 PM

Updated 1,428 days ago

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The owners of a Camden County gym have been issued a citation for reopening their gym in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 pandemic executive order.
Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti own Atilis Gym in Bellmawr. The owners told News 12 New Jersey last week that they would reopen the gym on Monday – knowing full well that it would be in violation of the order that the governor said was designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
When the gym reopened Monday morning, there was a crowd of supporters and protesters in the parking lot. Bellmawr police were also present to maintain order. About two hours after the gym reopened, Bellmawr Police Chief William Walsh addressed the crowd.
“Formally you are all in violation of the executive order,” he said. “On that note: Have a good day. Everybody be safe.”
But then a few hours later, police returned to issue a citation to the owners.
“I expected this. I actually expected more than this right now,” Trumbetti says. “These officers have a job to do and they’re just doing what their higher-ups tell them to. I firmly believe that everything we’re doing is constitutional.”
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The owners say that they have taken all the necessary precautions to protect gym members form the virus. The gym is operating at only 20% capacity. Members must have their temperature taken and sign a waiver to come inside.
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“We were 6 feet apart. There’s disinfectant. There was plenty of space in there and everybody was observant,” says member John Denteno. “Everybody had their own [disinfectant] bottles. It can be done…We got our sets in and we did good.”
Member Chuck Sigwart said that he felt safer at the gym than he did over the last few weeks going to Wawa or Walmart.
“They don’t give you the resources that the gym gave us today,” he says.
The owners say that they will reopen the gym again on Tuesday. But the governor had a message for them.
“If you show up at that gym tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing up today,” he said at Monday’s press briefing. “These aren’t just words. We’ve got to enforce this, but I also don’t want to start World War III.”
Smith and Trumbetti say that they are not afraid to get arrested or cited again.
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
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