New Jersey gym owners shut down by state after defying lockdown: Governor has ‘no legal precedent’

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After the New Jersey State Board of Health shut down Atilis Gym and paper towels from an outside source mysteriously flooded their bathrooms, the gym’s owners vowed Thursday to open again despite pressure from Gov. Phil Murphy and his continuing COVID-19 lockdown orders.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti promised that this was just a “bump in the road” for them and that they are standing firm in their convictions as their lawyers fight the state’s decision.

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“You know, we opened on Monday. We stayed open Tuesday and we stayed open on Wednesday. And, Murphy does not have a legal precedent to shut us down. So, he’s resorted to calling in the Health Department,” Smith explained.

He added that they knew they were doing the right thing because of the Health Department’s “scare tactic,” but would “not defy a health order.”

According to Trumbetti, the original wording of the Democratic governor’s executive stay-at-home order legally allowed for Atilis Gym to reopen because they could still “remain closed to the public” while admitting their members.

“But, Mr. Murphy has made sure the actually that whoever’s in control of the Board of Health has actually worded it properly this time, and they have actually stated that we are not allowed to actually have members of the public or members of our gym,” he pointed out. “So, at this moment, we stand by…everything we’ve done we believe is not criminal.”

At least one member of the Bellmawr gym was arrested on Tuesday and others were fined exiting the facility. Smith and Trumbetti have received two summonses over the past two days.

So far, the gym has raised almost $54,000 for legal fees from supporters of their stance.

“Yeah, we absolutely expected this to go on,” Smith told the “Friends” hosts. “You know, we knew from the onset that legally we had the right to be open and that there was no precedent to shut us down and that our rights under the Constitution are protected.

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“So, we kind of expected this to be a last resort when we’ve proved that there’s no legal precedent to shut us down. It’s something that we definitely expected, yes,” he concluded.

Trumbetti and Smith said they were looking into a mysterious plumbing issue following Murphy’s Wednesday news conference addressing the issue.