Gov. Murphy Escalates War On Defiant Gym During Coronavirus Lockdown

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Posted: May 23, 2020 6:35 PM
Gov. Murphy Escalates War On Defiant Gym During Coronavirus Lockdown

Source: Chris Pedota/The Record via AP

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is escalating his war on a gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, that reopened earlier this week in defiance the governor's stay-at-home executive order. The gym has reopened throughout the week as it battles efforts by the government to keep the gym closed. 

Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy approved a New Jersey Department of Health request on Friday night asking the gym be ordered to close down until businesses deemed nonessential are allowed to reopen. The New Jersey Department of Health previously issued an order on Wednesday night instructing the gym to close down. County officials posted the order outside the gym. 

According to reports, the order states the gym's safety measures are inadequate because the virus is "still too great to allow for relaxation of the current mitigation measures that are in place and necessary to reduce the transmission of [the coronavirus]."

"[C]ustomers of these facilities engage in physical activities that increase the customers' respiratory activity, which in turn can increase the amount of respiratory droplets or aerosols in a confined setting."

Meanwhile, New Jersey adopted neighboring New York's disastrous nursing home directive which likely exacerbated the number of deaths in already vulnerable nursing homes and adult care facilities. New Jersey won't protect their vulnerable seniors, but they sure like flexing their muscles to keep a gym closed down. 

Atilis Gym opened its doors for the first time in two months on Monday, as hundreds gathered outside to show their support. Entry to the gym was limited to members, a maximum of 44 at a time, and strict sanitation and social distancing measures were observed. 

Supporters in the crowd waved American flags and displayed signs calling for an end to the shutdown. Inevitably, police officers appeared and addressed the crowd.

Police did charge the gym's owners, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, with disorderly person's offenses and for violating the statewide order. Police also arrested one gym member on Tuesday for violating the lockdown and obstructing the administration of law by refusing to give officers his name. Police issued summons violations to five people who used the gym's facilities. 

Smith says the gym will likely remain closed at least until Tuesday.