CAMDEN, NJ — A Bellmawr gym was cited for a second time Tuesday after violating Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order barring certain businesses from opening their doors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Atilis Gym has drawn mixed reactions for its owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti — who thanked protestors for their support in the parking lot of the gym Tuesday.
In outlining the progress made by Camden County in battling the virus — which has claimed 280 lives (8 more in the last 24 hours) and resulted in 5,819 positive cases (100 more) as of Tuesday — Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli addressed the latest developments in Bellmawr.
"In short, there is a right way and wrong way to do things and the actions that have transpired at the gym are clearly the wrong way," said Cappelli. "We are seeing significant destruction being wrought by the virus and as a society we cannot give it the opportunity to regain a foothold in Camden County,"
Earlier Tuesday, officers at the gym also stopped three members as they left the facility and have arrested at least one individual while protestors screamed.
"Having rallies with congregations of people close together without masks is putting people at risk to spread the virus. These capricious actions undermine the work we have all done and the progress we have made over the last two months," Cappelli continued. "Although the methods were flawed, I think some good points have been raised through this conversation about reopening our businesses."
Murphy has said the orders in place are built to cull the spread of the virus, and New Jersey's re-opening is meant to happen gradually.
The business owners, who had an "All Small Business Is Essential" easel out front, countered that protocols have been put in place to protect its members.
Cappelli said through such rallies insight has been gained over how to help business assimilate back to a new normal during these rallies, "but ultimately this is no way to advocate these ideas."