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COVID-19: Gym-Goer, Owners Ticketed For Defying State Shutdown Order

Police leaving Atilis Gym on Monday as members cheer.
Police leaving Atilis Gym on Monday as members cheer. Photo Credit: Facebook (Screengrab)

A South Jersey gym reopened for a second consecutive day Tuesday in defiance of a state order against workout facilities operating during the coronavirus outbreak.

And for a second time, police issued tickets to the owners at Atilis Gym. At least one workout customer also was ticketed while leaving the gym after he refused to give his name, Bellmawr police said.

Police also warned supporters gathered outside to leave or they faced summonses.

“This gathering is a violation of the governor’s order,” Bellmawr Lt. Mike Draham said. “You are directed to immediately and peaceably disperse. If you do not disperse you can be charged. You can protest from your vehicle. . .That’s all we have right now.”

The crowd booed police officers as Draham read a statement to Atilis Gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti in front of the facility about 10 a.m. Both were handed summonses that carry fines of up to $1,000.

Gov. Phil Murphy was asked during Monday's coronavirus briefing about the Camden County gym’s reopening. The governor suggested efforts to enforce his COVUD-19 closure order might ramp up the following day.

“We will take action,” Murphy said Monday. “If you show up at that gym tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing today.”

"I also don't want to start World War III," the governor added. "People have continued to do the right thing, because they are. smart."

On Monday, local police gave verbal warnings only to patrons, but ticketed the gym owners. This video posted on Facebook shows police warning patrons of Atilis Gym in Camden County that: "Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe."

Gym members erupted into cheers, chanting "USA, USA." 

Murphy ordered fitness centers, movie theaters and casinos closed on March 16 to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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