The Bellmawr Borough Council on Tuesday voted, 5-1, to revoke the mercantile license of Atilis Gym, whose owners have defiantly tried to reopen in the face of N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus-related restrictions on such businesses.
Co-owner Ian Smith posted a video Monday on Instagram saying he and his partner, Frank Trumbetti, have been living inside the gym since Aug. 1, when they kicked open a plywood barricade to reopen their business. Smith claimed that authorities will attempt to erect a steel barricade on his doors.
“We will not be leaving. We have not left, and we will not allow them to construct a steel barricade in front of our place of private business,” Smith said.
The gym was closed in March along with thousands of other businesses statewide as Murphy attempted to control the virus’ spread.
In May, riding a wave of publicity from a tour of several Fox News appearances and support from Atilis members, the owners opened the gym. They were later held in contempt of court after a Superior Court judge in Camden ruled that Atilis must comply with an executive order by Murphy that limits indoor gym use to individual training sessions.
Smith said on Instagram that there will be another court hearing on Friday and that the gym faces a possible daily $15,000 fine for violating Murphy’s order.
Prior to kicking their way back into business, Smith and Trumbetti had been arrested and charged with contempt, obstruction, and violation of a disaster-control act. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office then boarded up the entrance to the gym.