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State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Bellmawr gym owners issued summons after defying executive order

By Nikita Biryukov, May 18 2020 2:45 pm

The owners of a Bellmawr gym that opened in defiance of an executive order that closed a broad range of businesses in March have been issued a citation, State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said Monday.

“It’s my understanding that the owners were issued a summons for that, and the clientele and pro-reopening protesters there were issued warnings,” the colonel said.

Roughly 200 showed up for the unordained opening of Atilis Gym.

Ian Smith, one of the gym’s co-owners, announced his intent to open the gym in defiance of a March executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy on Fox News last week.

The gym planned to open at 20% capacity, and Smith said the facility had taken other steps to follow social distancing guidelines.

A Bellmawr police officer’s reaction to the protest drew some eyes before the citations were announced.

“We are and were only here for everybody’s safety today. We planned for the worst and hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we had out here today,” an officer told the crowd of protesters. Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note — on that note, have a good day, everybody be safe.”

It’s not clear whether that officer was disciplined in relation to the incident.

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