VIDEO: New Jersey Gym Reopens in Defiance of State Order

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A gym in Camden County, New Jersey, was met with protests as it reopened in defiance of the state orders that shut down nonessential businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to videos of the incident.

Protesters both for and against the gym’s opening gathered outside Atilis Gym Bellmawr several hours before its 8 a.m. reopening, News 12 New Jersey reported.

Around 10:30 a.m., Bellmawr police officers snaked their way through the crowd to speak with the gym’s owners. The officers informed them that their business was “formally” in violation of the shutdown order, Fox 5 New York reported.

“We are and only were here for everybody’s safety today. We planned for the worst and hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we have out here today,” the officer said to the owners and surrounding crowd.

“Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe,” the officer said before walking away as the crowd cheered.

The owners say they are standing up for small businesses who are not financially well-off, adding that their decision to resume operations at the members-only gym was a matter of Constitutional rights over financial gain.

“We think so far, this has been just a gross violation of constitutional rights,” said Atilis Gym owner Ian Smith in an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight. “The 14th Amendment states that no state shall pass any law that infringes upon our rights as citizens, and we’ve been forced into our homes. Enough is enough.”

The gym is operating at a limited capacity with a list of restrictions, including no locker room use, showers, or shared equipment. The owners also roped off workout stations and are operating at 20 percent capacity.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy first ordered fitness centers, casinos, and movie theaters closed on March 16 in an effort to fight the coronavirus.

The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office issued a reminder over the weekend that nonessential businesses were to remain shuttered under Murphy’s order, adding that violators could face fines up to $1,000 or six months in jail.

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