‘Enough is enough’ Gym owners plan to defy Gov. Murphy’s orders by reopening business

The owners of a Camden County gym say that they will be reopening the gym on Monday, despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order requiring all gyms to be closed.

News 12 Staff

May 14, 2020, 9:24 PM

Updated 1,438 days ago

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The owners of a Camden County gym say that they will be reopening the gym on Monday, despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order requiring all gyms to be closed.
“We’ve decided enough is enough,” says Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr.
Smith and business partner Frank Trumbetti say that they are willing to take the “first punch” so-to-speak for small business owners who are suffering by the state shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The idea is we reject the concept of essential versus nonessential,” says Smith. “We drove by Home Depot, the liquor stores, every day and parking lots are filled and there are lines and mobs of people touching everything in sight. And there’s no reason that every other business can’t operate with those same procedures.”
Smith says that this is to show support for other business owners who are also struggling financially.
“We watched a lot of our competitors in the same industry have to close for good,” he says.
Smith and Trumbetti say that the gym will operate at 20% capacity. They have spaced out the equipment and have developed a 15-point cleaning protocol that members will have to sign off on before they can use the gym.
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Gov. Phil Murphy addressed their decision Thursday at his daily press briefing.
“The gym owner is out of compliance. I’ve heard about this person. They’re out of compliance and that’s not gonna be tolerated. I'll leave it to [Chief Counsel Matt Platkin] and then [State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan], and they can deal with it from there,” Murphy said.
The owners say that they are prepared to deal with the consequences of their actions.
“No matter what, the police have to do their job. If something comes from higher up and they’re told to arrest us, we’re prepared to be arrested because this isn’t about opening up our gym. It’s about having a peaceful opening of our state, of the country,” Trumbetti says.
The owners say that they are preparing for a crowd in their parking lot when they open Monday morning – a crowd of both supporters and even protesters.
“This is not something to blindside anyone. What we’re doing is being civilly disobedient, respecting law and order, but calling out what we see as poor government practices,” Smith says.
Smith and Trumbetti say that they have alerted local police of their plans for Monday - and are prepared to deal with the consequences.


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