On Monday, patrons of a New Jersey gym that opened in defiance of Democratic Governor Phil Murphy’s lockdown executive order were let off with a warning and told to “have a good day.”
“We are and only were here for everybody’s safety today,” an officer told those gathered at Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, 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,” the officer added, sparking the crowd to erupt with loud cheering.
The gym operated at a mere 20% capacity and with extra coronavirus precautions in place, including fever checks, and stayed open after the police visit.
“The measures that we took are well above and beyond,” Atilis Gym co-owner Ian Smith said, as noted by FOX 5. “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.”
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the owners were later issued municipal citations for disorderly conduct.
Current reporting indicates no patrons have been cited, though citizens were threatened by Camden County Prosecutor’s Office over the weekend that “anyone who patronizes a [‘non-essential’] business that is open in violation of an executive order could face criminal charges in the form of a disorderly persons offense for which you could be fined up to $1,000 for each offense and spend up to six months in jail.”
Gov. Murphy addressed the gym opening, warning more enforcement would be brought if the gym owners dare to open their business back up on Tuesday.
“I’m not concerned it will spiral out of control, and we will take action,” the Democrat said. “If you show up at that gym again tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing up today. These aren’t just words. We’ve got to enforce this, but I also don’t want to start World War III.”
The gym owners will not back down, however.
“I expected this. I actually expected more than this,” said gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti, 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.
Chuck Saulter, the borough’s mayor, commended both the police officers and the anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside Atilis Gym.
“With respect to the opening of Atilis Gym, from the start, this matter has been handled exclusively and appropriately by law enforcement, including our local police department,” Saulter told The Philadelphia Inquirer via an emailed statement. “I am proud of the manner in which the Bellmawr Police Department conducted themselves this morning as well as the respect shown toward our police officers by the general public.”
"Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order.
On that note, have a good day, everybody be safe."⁰⁰
Police in Camden, New Jersey were cheered after they visited a New Jersey gym that opened in violation of @GovMurphy’s orders.
🎥: FOX 29 pic.twitter.com/6osDYeSX3o
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 18, 2020
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.