New Jersey gym cited again for defying state shutdown order amid COVID-19

Virus Outbreak-Defiant Gym
Posted at 1:46 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 14:02:37-04

BELLMAWR, N.J. — The owners of a gym in southern New Jersey have again been cited for reopening the business in defiance of a state order that shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Bellmawr police issued the latest summonses to the Atilis Gym shortly after it opened its doors for a second consecutive day on Tuesday.

The police department and prosecutor's office are looking into whether additional charges will be filed against the gym members who used the facility Tuesday, NJ State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said during Gov. Phil Murphy's daily coronavirus briefing.

Several supporters jeered as the officers made the announcement outside the gym in a scene similar to what had occurred when the business reopened on Monday.

When asked why the gym has not been shut down, Murphy said he didn’t think the owner was being treated any differently than other businesses caught violating the order.

“We’re not there on gyms" Murphy added, "it’s indoors, it’s a lot of physical activity, close proximity, not necessarily sedentary," but people are in the same area for a period of time. "We're concerned about it."

On April 7, Callahan had said the state attorney general and the division of alcohol and beverage control was seeking to revoke the liquor license of a pub owner in Blairstown who was cited twice for not closing during the stay-at-home order.

"I think back to over the past few months. I think of the furniture store owner cited multiple times, the barbershops, the massage parlors. That gym in Bellmawr was opened for athe second day in a row, and he's been charged twice so I think it's been fairly even-handed across the board," Callahan said.

Matt Platkin, the governor’s chief counsel, said enforcement is a matter left to local police departments.

The gym’s owners have said the decision to resume operations at the members-only facility was not about financial gain, but rather a question of Constitutional rights.