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Gym Owners Who Defied NJ Shutdown Orders Say Toilets Were ‘Mysteriously’ Clogged with Paper Towels


The owners of a New Jersey gym who snubbed the New Jersey COVID-19 executive orders said Thursday that the toilets at their business were “mysteriously” clogged. Ian Smith said that it happened an hour after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s press conference regarding the gym on Wednesday. Fellow co-owner Frank Trumbetti said the clog affected only the “bathroom part of the gym.” There appeared to be a substantial amount of paper towels stuffed in the system.

“Just so everybody knows, we do not even have paper towels in our bathrooms,” he said.

Smith and Trumbetti said they are looking into how this happened. Plumbers had reportedly been called to the gym.

The Atilis Gym of Bellmawr reopened Monday, in defiance of shutdown orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a video statement on May 11, Smith argued there was a “double standard” over which businesses were considered essential. The company announced modified rules for reentry, including limiting the space to members (not guests), operating at 20 percent of capacity, “strict social distancing,” and temperatures being taken upon entry. Anyone with a 100.4 degree would be refused entry.

They continued to remain open in spite of receiving summonses, but were finally shut down Thursday when officials issued an order from the Heath Department.

“How is it possible that they can actually shut down,” Trumbetti told CBS Philadelphia in a Thursday. “If there is a problem based on the coronavirus, how can they shut us down but no other businesses in the same actual building? And it’s unconstitutional and targeting, and we are going to stand up and fight.”

They plan to reopen Friday. Smith argued that the Health Department order was a “scare tactic,” and their lawyers are looking into this.

[Screengrab via Steven Keeley / @KeeleyFox29]

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