The fines against a New Jersey gym that has publicly resisted Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 lockdown measures have amassed to more than $1 million, but the gym owner is refusing to back down.
Ian Smith, the co-owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, has repeatedly made headlines for fully opening his gym in defiance of Murphy’s mandates, which restrict the number of people allowed in gyms and compel people to wear masks.
“Governor Murphy has thrown everything he possibly could to shut us down. He has arrested my partner and I, given us over 60 citations, some of them criminal. He fines us $15,497.76 per day for every day we’re in operation. Our fines are totaling over $1.2 million, but every single day, Frank and I open our gym,” Smith told “America’s Newsroom” earlier this week.
Maintaining that more than 83,000 visitors have come to his gym without a single case of COVID-19, Smith said, “What’s happening to the middle class and small businesses in America is nothing short of a complete tragedy. I would go so far as to call it criminal. You are putting people out of business for good. You are making them reliant on big government. You are taking away their civil liberties under the guise of pretending like you care about public health.”.
In a video posted to Instagram in September, Smith wrote:
Our COVID-19 safety protocol has been proven effective.
As expected, the simple and easy to implement practices we put into place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 met and exceeded all other required government protocol. Small businesses have been held hostage for political purposes. OUR SCIENCE IS CLEAR. We now DEMAND that our elected officials show us the science in which they used to shutter our businesses and keep us isolated. It is time to reopen this country. No more shutdowns. No more masks. Kids back in school. IN PERSON VOTING. It’s time to make some noise. Lets share this and hold these elected officials accountable.
Smith was featured on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for the stand he took, as The Daily Wire reported:
The owner of a gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, who was arrested Monday after remaining open in defiance of the governor’s lockdown order, said he will not back down because he is “not afraid of tyrants.”
Atilis Gym owner Ian Smith, 33, and his co-owner Frank Trumbetti, 51, were charged Monday with contempt, obstruction, and violating the Disaster Control Act, after a state judge ruled that authorities could shut down a gym and lock its doors. They also face daily fines for each day they remain in contempt and must pay the state’s cost in its pursuit of the contempt-of-court motion, according to The Cherry Hill Courier-Post.
Their arrest is the latest event in their months-long standoff with Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, whose lingering lockdown order has shuttered non-essential businesses for more than four months.
Speaking with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday, Smith remained defiant despite his arrest. “From the last time that we spoke, we had lost our newest case of contempt of court, and that was on Friday of last week,” Smith said, referencing when he told Carlson he planned to reopen his gym in May. “The governor said and requested in court to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to stop us from operating a business. And Judge Robert Lougy agreed with him.”
Related: ‘I’m Not Afraid Of Tyrants’: New Jersey Gym Owner Arrested After Disobeying Lockdown Order