‘My plan is to keep opening until they put locks on the door’ – Businesses continue to defy Murphy executive order

All eyes were on a Camden County gym that opened on Monday in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order – but at least one other New Jersey gym also opened its doors despite being barred from being open.

News 12 Staff

May 19, 2020, 3:07 AM

Updated 1,431 days ago

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All eyes were on a Camden County gym that opened on Monday in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order – but at least one other New Jersey gym also opened its doors despite being barred from being open.
A modest group of supporters gathered outside of Newell Strength in Hillsborough Monday which also reopened its doors.
“We don’t need to judge each other and this is what it’s all about. Having the freedom to make decisions that’s best for you and your family,” says owner Kyle Newell.
Newell says that the COVID-19 pandemic has been unraveling his 13-year-old business, which offers group training. Some pay as much as $180 a month to train there.
Businesses across the state have started to defy Murphy’s stay-at-home orders, which required many businesses to shutter their doors to slow the spread of the virus.
The reopening of the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr became a sort-of constitutional rally, with many supporters say that the governor’s orders are unconstitutional. Many say that it is time for New Jerseyans to go back to work.
“I felt safer coming to the gym than I felt in the last two months, to be honest, going to Wawa or Walmart or any of those places,” said Atilis member Chuck Sigwart.
The gym was operating at 20% capacity and made its members sign a waiver to work out. But the owners of the gym were still issued citations by law enforcement for violating the order. The Bellmawr chief of police warned the people at the rally that they were also violating the order, but then told them to have a nice day.
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The governor said at Monday’s press briefing that these types of violations would not be tolerated. But also say that majority of New Jerseyans have been compliant with his orders.
“People have overwhelmingly done the right thing and they continue to do the right thing because they’re smart,” Murphy said.
But many of the business owners say that they have no intention of closing their doors again.
“My plan is to keep opening until they put locks on the door,” Newell says.
Newell says that he expects to be hit with fines – maybe as much as $1,000 a day. Hillsborough police did not respond to requests for comment about the situation.


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