On Monday, Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy threatened gym owners and their patrons not to re-open again on Tuesday after the fitness center opened Monday in defiance of the Democrat’s lockdown order.
“If you show up at that gym again tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing up today,” Murphy said during a presser on Monday, specifically talking about South Jersey’s Atilis Gym. “These aren’t just words.”
“We’ve got to enforce this,” he added, “but I also don’t want to start World War III.”
However, the threat wasn’t enough for Atilis Gym co-owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti to tuck tail. The gym opened their doors again on Tuesday.
While patrons of the gym were let off with a warning and told to “have a nice day” from one Bellmawr officer on Monday, Murphy seemingly made sure his threats were at least somewhat heeded on Tuesday.
The owners were hit with municipal citations for disorderly conduct, as they were on Monday. But, additionally, five other people were similarly cited and another man was charged for organizing an anti-lockdown protest outside the gym, which is apparently against Murphy’s executive actions, NBC Philadelphia reported.
According to the outlet, New Jersey State Police Col. Patrick Callahan said Camden County prosecutors “are determining if charges will be filed for defying the governor’s order.” He noted that state officials are “aware” of the issued citations.
The gym, which is only operating at 20% capacity and has numerous coronavirus-related health measures in place, reportedly saw a “steady stream” of patrons throughout the day.
On Monday, the gym gained national media attention when an officer was captured on video letting off patrons with a warning, notably wishing them a “good day.”
“We are and only were here for everybody’s safety today,” the officer told the crowd, according to FOX 5 NY. “We planned for the worst and hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we have out here today.”
“Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe,” he added, sparking the crowd to erupt in loud cheers.
“I expected this. I actually expected more than this,” gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti said, following the police warning, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We firmly believe that everything we are doing is constitutional. It’s our right, and we have not broken any laws.”
“I didn’t open up today to close tomorrow,” he added.
“The measures that we took are well above and beyond,” co-owner Ian Smith explained. “We spread out the entire gym. Everything in the gym is more than six feet apart, including equipment. Every single person walking in the gym is going to have to follow instructions or leave.”
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