BELLMAWR, N.J. – A gym in southern New Jersey has reopened for business in defiance of a state order that shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
People began gathering outside the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr several hours before it reopened at 8 a.m. Monday.
Around 10:30 a.m. Bellmawr police officers approached the door through the crowd to speak with the gym’s owners. The officers informed them that they were “formally” in violation of the shutdown order.
“We are and only were here for everybody’s safety today. We planned for the worst and hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we have out here today,” the officer said to the owners and surrounding crowd.
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“Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe,” the officer said before walking away as the crowd erupted in cheers.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said the gym’s owners were issued a court summons over the violation of the governor’s shut-down executive order and clients were given a warning. A June court date has been scheduled.
The 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. They also say they plan on opening up again on Tuesday.