Atilis Gym facing over $1.2M in fines for defying NJ's coronavirus lockdown orders, owner says

Employees exit to greet patrons lining up outside the Atilis Gym on May 20, 2020 in Bellmawr, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's COVID-19 restrictions have now resulted in more than $1.2 million in fines to a gym for defying the lockdowns in recent months. 

“Governor Murphy has thrown everything he possibly could to shut us down. He has arrested my partner and I, given us over 60 citations, some of them criminal. He fines us $15,497.76 per day for every day we’re in operation. Our fines are totaling over $1.2 million, but every single day, Frank and I open our gym,” Atilis Gym co-owner Ian Smith told “America’s Newsroom” Thursday.

The Atilis Gym owners have had a drawn-out, ongoing public battle with their local government in Bellmawr, N.J., over coronavirus restrictions. Gov. Murphy has said the reason for limiting gyms is to stop the spread of the virus, but Smith argues there’s no scientific data to back up this claim.


Gyms in the state have been allowed to open in a limited capacity since Sept. 1.

Smith said his business has passed the 83,000-visit mark with not a single case of coronavirus traced back to the facility.

“What’s happening to the middle class and small businesses in America is nothing short of a complete tragedy," he said. "I would go so far as to call it criminal. You are putting people out of business for good. You are making them reliant on big government. You are taking away their civil liberties under the guise of pretending like you care about public health.”

Smith blasted Gov. Murphy for not offering any help at all to small businesses and putting owners in a “really bad position” where they have to fight against a government entity. He goes on to say it’s a very hard fight but one that is absolutely necessary at this point.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting with Pfizer and BioNTech’s emergency use authorization application for its coronavirus vaccine candidate today, Dec. 10, in hopes to move forward with the approval process.

Atilis Gym has an average number of 5 to 700 members visit each day and members have an option to wear a mask, Smith said. He also mentioned his members feel comfortable returning to the facility.


“All of our other safety measures have kept our members safe and as you can tell with the 83,000 visits and no outbreaks linked to the facility," the gym owner said. "People are ready to get back to life and we can do so in a safe manner without shutting down businesses and closing them for good. And Frank and I set out to prove that back in May with our safety protocol. It has been in place and has shown to be effective.”



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