If you are fortunate enough to live in a Republican-held state as I do, chances are there aren’t a whole lot of things closed down due to COVID, at least not currently.
Sure, there are probably mask restrictions in more than a few businesses, population capacities in others, and possibly even limited hours of serving time or some other rubbish. But for the most part, a vast majority of businesses have been allowed to reopen, albeit with some changes.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of all Democratically-ran states.
Take New Jersey, for instance, where the liberal Governor Murphy thinks he is both god and king.
In the Garden State, things like gyms, hair salons, and other businesses deemed as “non-essential” have been closed for the better part of nine months now, many without any sort of revenue coming in.
Such is the case for Atilis Gym in Camden County, New Jersey. Like most other non-essential businesses in the area, they were forced to close in late spring with no timeline in mind for when they might be able to reopen their doors to the public, if even in a restricted capacity.
And so, after a few months with no way to bring income into their business, gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti decided to break state guidelines and open up anyway.
Of course, this was met with some frustrations from both state and local law enforcement.
On one occasion in May, a gym member was arrested outside for not providing police with his name when they asked.
Then in July, the governor got involved sending law enforcement to arrest both owners on charges of obstruction, contempt, and violating a “disaster control act.” The gym was closed by police and boarded up.
But a few days later, after being released from jail, the owners, together with a small band of supporters and fans, broke into their gym and reopened it again.
Since then, numerous attempts have been made by the governor and his lackeys to close the gym and/or punish the gym owners enough that they will keep their business closed.
However, nothing has worked so far, including the fines that now add up to over $1.2 million.
Smith told Fox News, “We open every single day. Gov. Murphy has thrown everything he possibly could to shut us down. He has arrested my partner and I. He’s given us over 60 citations, some of them criminal. He fines us $15,497.76 per day for every day that we’re in operation.”
Now, if numerous COVID cases were being found due to the gym’s negligence or sanitation wasn’t being dealt with at the gym, I could see how these fines or the arrests might seem credible. However, that isn’t the case.
According to Smith, the gym receives anywhere from 500 to 700 visitors on any given day that they are open. That means a total of 83,000 visits to the gym have occurred since they reopened in May. It’s quite a bit, to be sure.
Additionally, neither gym owners have required face masks to be worn on the premises. They do adhere to social distancing guidelines, as well as near-constant and proper sanitation routines. But not masks.
Per Smith, less than one percent of all who enter choose to wear a mask while working out on the premises. And that’s just fine with him.
Given these numbers and the fact that masks are rarely worn, you’d think there’d be more outbreaks in the area. And yet, according to all known records, not a single COVID case has been able to be traced back to the Atilis Gym.
It kind of puts a damper on the idea of both lockdowns and masks, doesn’t it?
Of course, that doesn’t mean Gov. Murphy is about to give them any slack. He’ll be charging the gym until he’s forced from office. Speaking of being moved out of office, it may come sooner than he thinks.
According to Smith and Trumbetti, the two are creating a national directory of sorts of other businesses that, like Atilis, are standing up to local governments in one form or another. Smith told Fox, “think of it as Yelp directory for businesses that are defying any and all COVID restrictions. Whether that be complete shutdowns, arbitrary time limits on when they can and cannot serve alcohol or when they can’t serve food.”
Smith says, “We’re going to hit that critical point where there’s too many businesses open to punish, and this whole thing will fall apart like a house of cards.”