Covid NJ: Bellmawr Gym Can Remain Open If It Follows Guidelines

Source: Philadelphia Enquirer

A Superior Court judge has ruled that Atilis Gym in Bellmawr must comply completely with an executive order by Gov. Phil Murphy that limits indoor gym use to individual training sessions in separate rooms and bars unrestricted public use. But gym owners gym co-owners Frank Trumbetti and Ian Smith said that’s not going to happen.

Atilis originally reopened May 18 against Murphy’s orders. On Fox News, the declared the orders to be unconstitutional, and have garnered a base of national supporters who raised tens of thousands of dollars to help with potential legal fees.

Local police wrote municipal citations, and then, on May 22, the New Jersey Department of Health ordered the facility to close indefinitely and changed its locks. The gym hosted workouts outside the gym from June 16 through July 4, but then moved the sessions back inside. The judge denied the temporary restraining order that Trumbetti and Ian Smith filed, but said Atilis could reopen solely to operate their nutrition shop, deemed an essential business.

The gym is operating at 25% capacity, said Trumbetti, but patrons are not required to wear masks. He also said they have “loosened up” on social distancing requirements, but require patrons to get their temperatures taken, use hand sanitizer, and sign waivers before entering.

Murphy’s most recent executive order permits contact drills, practices, and competitions to resume for high-risk sports like football, rugby, martial arts, and wrestling, as long as it’s in an outdoor setting. Trumbetti says, “The bottom line is, we are not going to comply with their non-laws.”

“I’m allowed to wrestle, box, or fight as long as it’s outside. But I’m not allowed to lift weights in my gym? That’s insane.”

Murphy has said indoor activities in gyms and restaurants remain too much of a public-health risk to reopen. “I want to get to gyms. I want to get to indoor dining,” Murphy said at a news briefing. “But we can’t do it if we think we’re going to have a likelihood of killing people.”


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