In a bold message to Gov. Phil Murphy, the owners of a New Jersey gym kicked down the wooden barricades state authorities had placed over the entrance to their facility, as they opened for business despite government-imposed restrictions.
Ian Smith, owner of Atilis gym, and his business partner Frank Trumbetti, posted the video of their dramatic entrance to Instagram along with a defiant declaration:
"You will not trample [on] our rights and you will not destroy our lives. We will not back down. Ever."
The scene marked the latest episode in the ongoing struggle by the gym owners to be allowed to make a living during repeated coronavirus shutdown mandates from the state health department. The pair has been previously fined and were arrested last Monday for defying court orders to remain shuttered.
In an attempt to get around government regulations regarding the "unique health risk" posed by their indoor facility, the pair recently took a cue from protesters in Seattle, carrying equipment out to the parking lot and renaming their gym the "Anti-Murphy Autonomous Zone."
Smith asked others to share his post "to show what lengths we have to go to just to make a living for our families."