BELLMAWR, N.J. - A federal judge has declined to allow a southern New Jersey gym to reopen as it continues a constitutional challenge to the state order that shut down businesses deemed non-essential in order to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
NJ.com reports U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler on Friday denied a temporary restraining order sought by the owners of Atilis Gym of Bellmawr, which filed suit last month accusing Gov. Phil Murphy of having "arbitrarily" deemed some businesses essential while declaring others -- such as gyms -- non-essential.
The owners' attorney told Law360 that he was disappointed but vowed an appeal.
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Last month, Atilis Gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti reopened their building four days straight in defiance of Murphy's restrictions. The dissent gained support from patrons and residents alike. The first day of reopening police issued a warning, but on citations were handed down in the days that followed.
Smith and Trumbetti required strict screening and sanitation guidelines for during their reopening.
The gym taped off workout stations and operated at 20% of the building’s capacity; meaning about 44 patrons at a time. They also were requiring patrons to wear masks unless they were in the middle of lifting weights.
Gym staff took patrons' temperatures at the door and anyone at 100.4 or above was not allowed inside. The gym's owners also said they were not taking in new members.
Within the week, the New Jersey Department of Health placed order the building to close and placed an embargo on the facility. The gym also suffered a sewage backup which required the gym to evacuate.
Smith and Trumbetti obeyed the shutdown order from the department of health, but vowed to continue to fight the constitutionality of the shutdown order imposed by the Murphy administration.
Since then, more restrictions have been lifted on businesses and social gatherings in the Garden State. Gyms and similar workout spaces, however, remain shuttered with no time table for relaunch.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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