BELLMAWR, New Jersey -- The owners of a New Jersey gym who have repeatedly defied Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order to remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic had their mercantile license revoked on Tuesday night during a special meeting.
Ian Smith, one of the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, says his mercantile license was revoked during the meeting before the mayor and Borough Council. Council voted 5-1 to revoke the license.
Smith, 33 and co-owner Frank Trumbetti, 51, have repeatedly vowed to stay open despite orders from the governor to stay closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The owners have been previously arrested and earlier this month even broke into their own business after it was boarded up by authorities.
The gym opened its doors in May, starting a legal battle over whether Murphy's order for non-essential businesses to remain closed was constitutional. The owners have said they have taken steps to ensure social distancing, including taping off workout stations and operating at 20% of capacity and were also taking patrons' temperatures and requiring them to wear masks unless they were in the middle of lifting weights.
Smith says nothing warrants the business to be shut down.
"We've all heard these public officials say 'science and data'...We are so confident in our process and in our safety protocol that if you can show us the science and data that proves Atilis Gym in Bellmawr poses more of a threat to the general public than any other place and should remain shut down, we will happily shut our doors," said Smith in a video posted to Instagram.
Smith says he will not back down.
"We are prepared to lose every single battle along the way to win the war," he said.