Atilis Gym co-owner Ian Smith said in video posted on Instagram that the only time New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will be able to shut his gym’s doors is when he’s dead.
“We have been open against unconstitutional shut down orders since May,” he said in the description. “Not once have we flinched, and the petty tyrant of New Jersey governor Murphy has tried everything he could possibly think of to ruin us. Over seven months later we will open our doors every single day. No government official will ever tell me that I am not able to provide for my family. I do not answer to public servants – no matter what threats or punishments they impose. I am a free man. I do not ask for permission. I do not ask for forgiveness. You work for us. The only way you’ll ever close these doors is when you close my casket.”
In the video, Smith stands in front of the camera with a similar message typed out, explaining that they’ve been fined more than $1 million and racked up dozens of citations for their defiance.
“We have had our business license stripped,” the note says. “We have had our doors locked and barricaded. We have been arrested and have over 60 citations.”
He says they don’t require masks in the building and never will.
Murphy has called for limited gym use in a purported effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, but the gym co-owners have argued there is “no science” to support this position.
“What’s happening to the middle class and small businesses in America is nothing short of a complete tragedy," Smith told Fox News's “America’s Newsroom” Thursday. "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.”
Smith said the gym has had more than 80,000 visits without any cases of coronavirus being linked back to the facility.
“All of our other safety measures have kept our members safe," he said. "People are ready to get back to life and we can do so in a safe manner without shutting down businesses and closing them for good. And Frank and I set out to prove that back in May with our safety protocol. It has been in place and has shown to be effective.”