Coronavirus News: Atilis Gym in New Jersey defies shutdown order, given second citation

BELLMAWR, New Jersey -- One of the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, has vowed to unlock the doors to his business for patrons every day unless he is jailed and thereby unable to do so.

"I will not close my doors again unless I'm behind bars," yelled Frank Trumbetti to a crowd of supporters Tuesday morning. "And I guarantee you this door will be open every single day."

For the second day in a row, members and supporters gathered in the parking lot to cheer as the doors opened for business, despite the current shutdown order in New Jersey.

Bellmawr police also returned to the establishment Tuesday morning to issue a second citation to owners.

The tickets each carry a $2,000 fine, and gym members who decide to workout there may also face fines as well.

At least one person was detained by police after leaving the gym and having a verbal exchange with an officer. It wasn't clear whether that person would face any charges, but officials have said that patrons could receive summonses.

On Monday, the owners reopened the gym with some restrictions after several weeks of closure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Only previous members were allowed admission, as no new sign-ups were being taken, and even those members were only allowed inside at a limited capacity.

Members had their temperatures taken at the door and signed medical questionnaires and waivers before entering.

"We're here, being civilly disobedient, being peaceful operating our business as we should be able to," Co-owner Ian Smith told sister station WPVI-TV.

The owners listed some precautions that have been put in place: including signs posted outside telling people to adhere to social distancing, limiting capacity inside the gym to 44 members at a time, taping off workout stations and spacing equipment. Owners are also providing bottles of disinfectant for members to wipe down the equipment.

"I felt safer in the gym today than I felt at Wawa, Walmart all of those places- supermarkets- they're policing us to stay six feet apart. They are requiring masks," according to gym member Chuck Sigwart, who spoke when he was finished exercising.

"Forty people were max in there, so a lot less people in there than there normally are. Just the need to clean equipment down, spacing, masks on," member Jon Centeno said.


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