Michigan Gym Shut Down, Members Ticketed for Defying Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks with reporters after inspecting the Elm Street bridge over the Red Cedar River, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Lansing, Mich. Whitmer says it is important that the public knows the seriousness of the state's "infrastructure crisis." (AP Photo/David Eggert)
AP Photo/David Eggert

A gym in Lincoln Park, Michigan, was shut down Wednesday and members given citations for violating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) executive order regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

“The case involving RTB Gym in Lincoln Park is one of the first in Michigan in which authorities ticketed not only an owner or manager of a gym for defying the governor, but all patrons who happened to be inside when officers arrived,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

The article continued:

RTB Gym is one of an unknown number of fitness centers across lower Michigan that have remained open for business despite Whitmer’s executive order for them to stay closed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The governor lifted the order June 10 for gyms in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, which had seen fewer coronavirus cases.

Raise the Bar Gym (RTB Gym) was a “small, family-owned business that prides itself on its atmosphere, grit and customer service,” its website read.

However, Lincoln Park Mayor Thomas Karnes said officials wanted to make sure the gym and its members “took this seriously,” adding, “You can’t have someone basically flouting the laws and opening in violation of what the governor says you can’t do.”

At about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, police officers and a city building inspector entered the gym, ordered everyone to leave, then handed two citations to employees and roughly 12 members, according to owner Tino Ulicne.

“We all got violation of the governor’s orders,” Ulicne said. “The officers said they’re not sure on how we’re going to be punished. They don’t know what the fines are going to come out to, but I do believe it’s a misdemeanor.”

The building inspector also reportedly posted orange “DO NOT OCCUPY” signs at the gym’s entrances.

Whitmer said Tuesday that she would not be “bullied” into reopening the state too quickly amid the pandemic, according to Breitbart News.

“I’m not going to be bullied into moving before it’s safe. And if we have to move back, we’re going to,” she stated.

However, enforcement of criminal penalties regarding the governor’s order was up to local police and county prosecutors, the Press article noted.

Ulicne said the gym, which was given a warning on Tuesday, was his “bread and butter,” adding that he was surprised the city took the actions it did.

“I have competitors open, and they get a slap on the wrist. They get a $500 fine, a $1,000 fine. They pay it, they’re open the next day. We come in, we get a warning,” he explained.

“I expected to get a fine the next day and pay it and do the same thing, but we get everyone ticketed,” Ulicne concluded.

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