New Jersey gym owners on fighting back against COVID-19 shutdown: ‘We refuse to be locked out and bullied’

New Jersey gym owners who have been locked in a months-long battle with their Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy over reopening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic say they’re not backing down.

In a Saturday interview on “Fox & Friends Weekend,”  Atilis gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti explained their situation.

NJ GYM OWNERS WHO REOPENED IN DEFIANCE OF STATE ORDER HELD IN CONTEMPT OF COURT

On Friday, a state judge ruled that New Jersey authorities can shutter the Bellmawr facility, and the pair were found in contempt of court.

“So, the judge awarded the state the ability to come and padlock our doors. So, Frank and I had been here now for over 48 hours running the gym 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We got some volunteers and we took the doors off the hinges,” Smith said. “They’ve already locked our doors once. It’s our private property. This is a place that we have built and spent our — all of our time creating. And, we refuse to be locked out and bullied by the governor again.”

Trumbetti pointed to Murphy’s loosening of health restrictions for other fitness-related activities including outdoor sports.

“So, I can do full-contact martial arts. I can box somebody outside. I can tackle them in football. I can do rugby, you know, scrum and I can’t get COVID. But, somehow if I walk into my gym and decide I want to lift weights or even go inside a martial arts studio, I will get COVID if I do the same exact things?” he questioned. “It’s actually insanity.”

“What happens next?” asked host Pete Hegseth.

“We have two weeks’ worth of clothing in here. And, we will not be leaving unless we are arrested or unless the state backs down. We have had enough of this,” Smith replied.

“We can operate our business safely, responsibly. We have shown that to be true. We haven’t had a single case of COVID reported and we have everybody’s records here,” he added. “So, we’re not backing down from this one.”

Smith and Trumbetti have nicknamed their gym “A.M.A.Z.” or an “Anti-Murphy Autonomous Zone.” They said they “borrowed it” from Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest or “C.H.O.P.”

They’ve also changed Atilis Gym from a registered LLC to a PMA — or Private Membership Association.

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“And, we had 327 people sign up yesterday for that and we had a total of 620 people come through the door yesterday to actually get their workout in. So, we’re prepared to be here,” Trumbetti said.

“And, the number of people –the fact that 620 people came through the door — will [give] you a little bit of an idea of how much support we have just locally, let alone throughout the country,” he concluded.