NJ gym set to reopen today in defiance of state’s stay-at-home order

A New Jersey gym is set to open its doors Monday in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home orders — and eager members gathered outside hours ahead of time, according to a new report.

Atilis Gym in Bellmawr was forced to shutter in March amid the coronavirus crisis — but announced its plans to reopen in videos posted to Facebook last week.

“We reject the premise of essential and non-essential businesses,” co-owner Ian Smith said in one video. “What is essential is while taking proper precautions to protect ourselves and those around us, that all businesses and public spaces should remain open. It is what is best for our physical and mental health, as well as what is best for the economic health of our nation.”

The forced closure, Smith claims, is a “power grab” that violates citizens’ constitutional rights.

About a dozen early birds showed up in the gym’s parking lot hours before the official opening at 8 a.m., KYW-TV reported.

Owners, however, posted a list of safety protocols that gym goers must follow.

The facility will only be open to existing members and will operate at 20-percent capacity. Temperatures will be taken at the door and anyone at 100.4 degrees or above will be turned away.

Masks must be worn unless members are in the middle of lifting weights.

Owners asked for a big show of support in the parking lot Monday morning.

But the decision to reopen is about more than just Atilis Gym, co-owner Frank Trumbetti said in another video.

“We are proposing an organized peaceful reopening of our state, not just our business,” he said. “We truly believe that if we don’t do this, in the end, we’ll have zero rights and no say in what happens‪.”‬

Meanwhile, in a statement last week, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office warned that anyone who patronizes a business in violation of an executive order could face a disorderly persons charge, which could land them a $1,000 fine and up to six months behind bars.

Murphy said he was aware of the gym during a press conference last week, according to the local station.

“They’re out of compliance and that’s not going to be tolerated,” the governor said.

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