BELLMAWR, New Jersey -- Members gathered in the parking lot of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey to show their support for reopening the facility Monday in defiance of Governor Phil Murphy's shutdown order.
A collective cheer was heard as owners unlocked the doors at 8 a.m.
One hour later, the gym continued to be in operation.
Owners said they have taken precautions. Signs are posted outside, telling people to adhere to social distancing. Capacity will be limited to 44 members at a time.
Precautions have been taken inside as well, including taping off workout stations and spacing equipment. There are also bottles of disinfectant to wipe down the equipment.
Co-owner Frank Trumbetti posted a video online about his decision to open the gym's doors. He says his own mother is hospitalized with coronavirus, so he takes this virus seriously.
"We would like to get all the support we can all day long. We would love to fill the parking lot by 8 a.m. and allow members in, in accordance to the safe distancing guidelines, to get their workout in in a timely fashion, and have them stick around all day as a sign of solidarity for our rights as citizens," he said.
Trumbetti said he is proposing an organized peaceful reopening of the state, not just his gym.
"We truly believe that if we don't do this in the end, we will have zero rights and no say in what happens," he said.
Trumbetti, who recently lost a loved one to COVID-19, said the decision is certainly not about financial gain.
"The government has failed at protecting our rights and failed at protecting our health. We are proposing an organized peaceful reopening of the state, not just our business, "Trumbetti said in the video.
Police were on the scene Monday morning, but no action had been taken.