Summonses issued as Atilis Gym in Bellmawr vows to continue defying governor's shutdown order

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020
New Jersey Gym owner defies shutdown order to open for a second day of business, receives additional citation
N.J. Gym owner defies shutdown order to open for a second day of business, receives additional citation

BELLMAWR, New Jersey (WPVI) -- One of the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey has vowed to unlock the doors to his business for patrons every day unless he is jailed and thereby unable to do so.

"I will not close my doors again unless I'm behind bars," yelled Frank Trumbetti to a crowd of supporters Tuesday morning. "And I guarantee you this door will be open every single day."

For the second day in a row, members and supporters gathered in the parking lot to cheer as the doors opened for business, despite the current shutdown order in New Jersey.

Bellmawr police also returned to the establishment Tuesday morning to issue a second citation to owners.

The tickets each carry a $2,000 fine, and gym members who decide to workout there may also face fines as well.

According to Bellmawr police, in addition to gym owners, Trumbetti and Smith, five other individuals were issued a summons for violating the governor's order. One person was charged with organizing a protest and another individual was charged with obstruction the administration of the law.

On Monday, owners reopened the gym with some restrictions after several weeks of closure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Only previous members were allowed admission, as no new sign-ups were being taken, and even those members were only allowed inside at a limited capacity.

Members had their temperatures taken at the door and signed medical questionnaires and waivers before entering.

Co-owner Ian Smith told 6abc, "We're here, being civilly disobedient, being peaceful operating our business as we should be able to."

The owners listed some precautions that have been put in place: including signs posted outside telling people to adhere to social distancing, limiting capacity inside the gym to 44 members at a time, taping off workout stations and spacing equipment. Owners are also providing bottles of disinfectant for members to wipe down the equipment.

"I felt safer in the gym today than I felt at Wawa, Walmart all of those places- supermarkets- they're policing us to stay six feet apart. They are requiring masks," according to gym member Chuck Sigwart, who spoke to us when he was finished exercising.

Member Jon Centeno said "40 people were max in there, so a lot less people in there than there normally are. Just the need to clean equipment down, spacing, masks on."

The owners of the gym say they will not be paying any fines, but that they do have a GoFundMe account set up by supporters to pay any legal fees that may come of this.


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