Defiant Linden gym, cited 13 times for opening, finally forced to close
LINDEN — A gym that repeatedly defied state orders prohibiting fitness centers from fully opening has finally been forced into compliance by the state.
Powerhouse Gym said on Instagram that they were issued a cease-and-desist order by state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli on Tuesday night. While the order allows the gym to provide one-on-one training, which all fitness centers are now allowed to do, the gym's statement says it is completely closing and promises to "fight and appeal" the order.
Police spokesman Christopher Guenther said the gym has "regularly operated in defiance of the governor's executive order" since June 23 and has been issued 13 summonses.
"The matter has been referred to the NJ Attorney General’s Office for review, and additional enforcement actions may be taken if warranted," Guenther said in an email.
The gym was mentioned during several of Murphy's coronavirus briefings.
The order shuts the gym to members except for individualized training, which has been allowed at indoor gyms since the end of June under Executive Order 157.
The gym's efforts to address the transmission of the COVID-19 virus are not sufficient, according to the order.
"The extensive interactions that occur at certain indoor recreational and entertainment operations continue to present a significant risk, and so the restrictions on the indoor operations of certain recreational and entertainment businesses have not been lifted at this time," the order says.
The order says gyms are at high risk because exercise increases respiratory activity and the respiratory droplets or aerosols are more concentrated in a confined space. The virus can live on plastic and steel surfaces up to 72 hours, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Owner Anthony Rottino did not immediately return New Jersey 101.5's request for comment.
The Michigan-based Powerhouse Gym franchise has 300 locations in 39 states with four locations in New Jersey.
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