NJ Health Department shuts defiant gym; owners blame clogged toilet
BELLMAWR — The state Department of Health followed through on the threat by Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan to use its authority to close the Atilis Gym after the owners defied the governor's pandemic order for three days in a row.
But the owners insist that they will keep going — except that workouts will likely take place in their parking lot on Thursday because a backed-up toilet flooded the gym on Wednesday.
Owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti were issued daily summons for violating the executive order on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At least six patrons were issued misdemeanor summonses during the week.
Trumbetti told Fox 29 that he arrived at the gym on Thursday morning to find a "Notice of Embargo" issued by the Camden County Division of Environmental Health stuck to windows and doors. The notice references state administrative code 8:57-1.3, which has to do with communicable diseases.
The notice signed by state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says that all members are barred from entering the gym. The order can be appealed to a Superior Court judge.
Trumbetti told Fox 29 that their attorney is reviewing the order and that they expect to reopen on Friday.
Smith told New Jersey 101.5 that the building's sewage pipe had been "sabotaged" on Wednesday. Trumbetti on Thursday morning told reporters that paper towels had been stuffed in a toilet. Fox 29 video showed a clean up crew arriving at the gym on Thursday morning.
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