Owners of the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr kicked down the plywood boards covering their business’ doorway on Saturday morning and ushered in dozens of clients for workouts, the latest move in a monthslong standoff with government officials over New Jersey’s coronavirus-related restrictions.
Owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti allowed 40 to 50 customers to work out in the gym at once, which Smith said was less than 25% of the building’s capacity. As customers waited in line Saturday morning, many said they couldn’t wait to get back to their regular workouts.
In May, a judge ordered Atilis Gym to close its doors after the Camden County fitness facility reopened last week in defiance of the state’s coronavirus shutdown orders.
Rob Tornoe of The Philadelphia Inqurer wrote then:
In a temporary ruling released Friday night, Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy granted a request from the New Jersey Department of Health to place temporary restraints on Atilis, directing the Bellmawr gym to remain closed to the public until the state allows businesses designated as nonessential to reopen. Lougy set a hearing date of June 8.
Today, according to Tornoe:
Smith acknowledged it was likely that law enforcement would soon arrive to force them to close again, as has happened several times since Atilis reopened in May. And at a meeting Tuesday, Bellmawr officials will consider revoking the gym’s business license, according to a letter Smith received.
“Gov. Murphy has weaponized the police force against us over and over,” Smith said. “I think he looks foolish, the way he’s treating us — he’s pulling out all the stops. You have to ask, how far will one man go to destroy a small business?”