Council revokes license of New Jersey gym whose owners defied coronavirus order
A borough council in New Jersey on Tuesday voted to rescind the business license of a gym that has repeatedly refused to comply with state closures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
The Bellmawr council voted 5-1 to rescind the mercantile license of Atilis Gym in an hour-long hearing, NJ.com reported.
Howard Long, the borough’s attorney, provided the council with details about the nine citations issued against the gym and co-owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, who were arrested for defying a state executive order to keep the gym closed.
“If you believe this business is unsafe to your residents of Bellmawr and you believe that laws have been violated,” Long said. “You have the right … to revoke this license.”
Smith’s attorney, John McCann, brushed off the information presented as “goofy” and “obnoxious.”
“Anybody who didn’t already have their minds made up would have made the right choice,” Smith said outside of the hearing, according to NJ.com.
Smith and Trumbetti have accused New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) of violating their constitutional rights with coronavirus-related safety protocols.
“We all have the right to make a living. We all have the 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 that it’s just unacceptable to us,” Trumbetti said during a heated exchange with CNN’s Chris Cuomo earlier this month.
“They have violated everybody’s constitutional rights,” says the co-owner of a NJ gym who was arrested after reopening. “We all have the right to make a living… to actually do what we want to do as Americans. We are promised liberty.” https://t.co/zLfdpaUflG pic.twitter.com/SslPQvGMle
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) August 5, 2020
The New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s (D) office has said that the gym’s “brazen conduct” is jeopardizing public health, NJ.com reported.
Grewal’s office last week recommended a daily $10,000 fine and possible imprisonment for Trumbetti and Smith.
Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy found Atilis Gym to be in contempt of court last month and ordered the co-owners to vacate the gym and cease operations.
The two then posted a video of themselves removing the gym’s doors to prevent officials from padlocking them closed and allegedly refused to leave.
Smith and Trumbetti were both arrested and charged with one count of fourth-degree contempt, as well as one count of obstruction and one count of violation of a disaster control act, both disorderly persons summons.
After they were released, they kicked in plywood barricades and reopened the gym to patrons.
Current guidelines state that gyms in New Jersey must keep indoor spaces closed to the public.
They are permitted to offer individualized indoor instruction by appointment only to individuals and their families, caretakers or romantic partners, according to the reopening information.
Atilis previously was operating at 20 percent capacity, enforcing temperature checks upon entry and requiring mask use unless a member was performing a strenuous workout, such as lifting weights.
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