The owners of a gym in New Jersey has been fined $1.2 million for defying an arbitrary COVID-19 lockdown, and the owners have become something of folk heroes in the bodybuilding world.
The Atilis Gym in Bellmawr has become something of a figurehead for the anti-lockdown movement, with its owners defying NJ Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders to shut down.
Ian Smith, a co-owner of the gym, shared a video on social media, vowing to keep the gym open.
“Gov. Murphy will see this video and fine us $15k for it,” Smith stated on a series of flashcards held up in front of the camera.“But … free men don’t ask permission. Or for forgiveness.”
Suddenly, a voice rang out in the gym.
“F**k you, Murphy,” the male voice shouted.
Smith has no intention of backing 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,” he said. “Our fines are totaling over $1.2 million, but every single day, Frank and I open our gym.”
According to the New York Post, the duo referred to the state’s actions as “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,” he said.
As for the safety level, Smith thinks the record speaks for itself.
“All of our other safety measures have kept our members safe,” he said, noting “83,000 visits and no outbreaks linked to the facility.”
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