The New Jersey Department of Health has shut down the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr after state officials issued a notice of embargo.
Steve Keeley of Fox29 tweeted:
NJ Health Dept ordered Atilis Gym SHUTDOWN. Taped to front window over gum name by front doors, 4 page order signed by NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. Also 6 orange Camden County ‘Notice of Embargo’ stickers from Camden County Enviornmental Health dept @FOX29philly
NJ Health Dept ordered Atilis Gym SHUTDOWN. Taped to front window over gum name by front doors, 4 page order signed by NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. Also 6 orange Camden County ‘Notice of Embargo’ stickers from Camden County Enviornmental Health dept @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/ljjYNqhFq9
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) May 21, 2020
The gym had gained national recognition for a viral video where the police officer said “‘Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day, everybody be safe.”
Per Fox29, the gym, which has opened every day this week in defiance of the Gov. Murphy’s executive order, reportedly had a sewage back up on Wednesday that caused patrons to evacuate the building. Emergency plumbing crews were called to the facility to correct the issue.
While it’s unclear at this time what the state’s embargo on the building means legally, the Atilis Gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti says the building will not open on Thursday. Instead, gym members will workout in the parking lot.
Co-owner Ian Smith says he and Trumbetti plan on “dealing” with the notices and reopening again on Friday. He says they could physically open their doors Thursday, but they do not want to violate the health department’s order.
“We could open up. The place is not padlocked. However, we will not defy a health code order,” Smith said.
“According to our beliefs, we have been allowing our members in because of the wording of Governor Murphy’s executive order stating the gym had to remained closed to the public,” Trumbetti added. “We have stood firm, as long as we let members in, we are not doing anything that’s against the law and criminal. The paperwork that’s on the window, we don’t know if it’s actually deemed legal or not because they put it on in the middle of the night. We were not served with those papers.”
Meanwhile, Camden County Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr. on Friday said he supports the state’s decision to uphold Murphy’s executive order. Cappelli Jr sympathized with small business owners saying that no one is immune to the economic impact of the virus, but a healthy population will is paramount to economic success.
“I am hopeful that this situation can be resolved cooperatively, and that the gym will be able to welcome back their patrons when, and only when, it has been deemed safe to do so by the state of New Jersey,” Cappelli Jr. said in a statement.
On Monday, dozens of people came out to show their support for the gym, with many holding signs critical of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and others waving American flags. Only some were wearing face coverings and most people tightly clustered together on the sidewalk and parking area in front of the gym.
“If they shut us down today, we’ll reopen tomorrow,” co-owner Ian Smith told the cheering crowd. The gym then saw a steady stream of customers as the morning progressed.
Around 10:30 a.m. on Monday, police approached the business and spoke with the gym owners. The officers informed them they were formally in violation of the shutdown order, adding that police were present “only for everybody’s safety.” The officers then wished everyone well and told them “have a nice day” before walking away from the gym as the crowd erupted in cheers.