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N.J. Gym Owners Defying Shutdown Orders Have License Removed, Owner Says

Owner told CNN's Cuomo last week, “53.3 percent of the deaths from 0.6 percent of the population” is “a f***ing stat that nobody's talking about.”
A man walks his dog past a placard stating "ALL SMALL BUSINESS IS ESSENTIAL" outside Atilis Gym on May 20, 2020 in Bellmawr, New Jersey.
Mark Makela/Getty Images

According to the co-owner of a New Jersey gym that has remained open in defiance of Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order, the owners’ mercantile license was revoked on Tuesday night.

Ian Smith, who owns Atilas gym along with Frank Trumbetti, said that at a Tuesday meeting, which the mayor and the city council attended, the council voted 5-1 to revoke their license, ABC 7 News reported.

On Instagram, Smith stated, “We’ve all heard these public officials say ‘science and data’…We are so confident in our process and in our safety protocol that if you can show us the science and data that proves Atilis Gym in Bellmawr poses more of a threat to the general public than any other place and should remain shut down, we will happily shut our doors,” adding, “We are prepared to lose every single battle along the way to win the war.”

Earlier this month, CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviewed Smith and Trumbetti, and a heated confrontation ensued, with Trumbetti ripping Cuomo, saying, “You’re knocking Trump because of the total numbers,” and pointing out that “53.3 percent of the deaths from 0.6 percent of the population,” “a f***ing stat that nobody’s talking about.”

Cuomo began the interview by noting that the pair had been arrested and “charged with defying the state’s COVID restrictions last week.” He played a videotape of the men kicking in the plywood barricade at the front door of their gym in order to reopen it.

Cuomo noted, “This is a court battle; they could go to jail. Now you have the state AG’s office there in Jersey recommending a fine of up to $10,000 a day.”

He asked the men for their perspective on the issue.

“I would say that actually, when this first started, they asked for two weeks,” Trumbetti replied. “When we first opened up, we gave them two months. Then we gave them until May 18th. At two months they had no plan. Plain and simple. They had no plan — we did. We actually wanted to prove that we could open up safe. They actually say that liquor stores are essential. That actually every place that – you can go into Home Depot and Lowe’s is essential. I disagree with that, okay? We’re all essential. Everybody is essential.”

“And bottom line is, this isn’t about opening up a gym; they have violated everyone’s constitutional rights,” he continued. “We all have the right to make a living. We all have a right to actually do what we want to do as Americans. We are promised liberty, and they have actually put such oppressive restrictions on us, it is just unacceptable to us.”

“I would argue that the gym is a place to keep people safe,” Smith said. “This is a place where people come to build their immune systems, to build the strength of their body, physically on the outside and the inside. This is a place where people come to relieve stress. This is a place where we have soldiers that have served our country that come to deal with their PTSD. This is a place that we have recovering drug addicts who use this as an outlet. This is a place that saves lives. This is a place that creates health, that fosters health.”

Trumbetti explained, “When you come into our gym, you actually stand in front of a biometric scanner that takes your temperature. You take a disinfected pen, you fill out a health questionnaire, just like you would in a doctor’s office. You take that pen and you put it in a dirty bin, so we can actually disinfect it.”

“You’re handed a bottle of a disinfectant that is actually from Ecolab that actually is proven to actually kill the coronavirus in 45 seconds when it’s diluted at four ounces per gallon,” he continued. “We actually have an air scrubber in here … it’s a mobile decontamination unit that actually circulates approximately 10,000 cubic feet of air per minute through a UV light run by hydroxyl generators that provides 99.9 percent chemical free and virus free air.”

He added, “Somehow walking into a facility that’s highly regulated, that has a 15-point safety protocol, that goes above and beyond what any business in the State of New Jersey, and I would argue any business in the country has done so far, you can’t get – you can get COVID just because what, there’s dumbbells in here?”

“You seem like you’re a big numbers guy,” Trumbetti said to Cuomo. “And, actually, I would like to put some numbers out there for you. Are you aware that actually when this first started, there are 2.1 million people in the United States in long-term care facilities that represent 0.6 percent of the population. But on July 17, that 0.6 percent of the population represented 53.3 percent of all the deaths that occurred in the United States from COVID.”

Cuomo stated, “What you’re saying about long-term care facilities, I’m not questioning it. We did the wrong job by the most vulnerable people. And even though, obviously, the oldest and the most fragile will die the most in a situation like this, it doesn’t mean you did it the right way. The only thing I would caution you about —”

“You’re knocking Trump because of the total numbers,” Trumbetti interjected, repeating, “53.3 percent of the deaths from 0.6 percent of the population.”

Cuomo jumped in, “Frank –”

Trumbetti snapped, “Bottom line, that’s a f***ing stat that nobody’s talking about.”

Cuomo interjected, “Frank, watch your mouth on television.”

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