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NJ Gym Owners Spar w/ CNN’s Cuomo Over Saving Their Business

'We are over 4 months into an economic shutdown that was supposed to be 14 days...'

Two New Jersey gym owners who have defied the state’s shutdown order defended their decision to do so during a heated exchange with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

They argued that an executive order by Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., requiring gyms to close is “oppressive,” “unacceptable” and discriminatory.

“They have violated everyone’s constitutional rights,” Atilis Gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti said of New Jersey officials.

“We all have the right to make a living,” he continued. “We all have the right to actually do what we want to do as Americans. We are promised liberty. And they have actually put such oppressive restrictions on us that it’s just unacceptable to us.”

Trumbetti and Ian Smith have opened the doors to Atilis Gym every day for the past several weeks, despite Murphy’s attempts to shut them down.

The gym has received countless fines, which are being paid by a GoFundMe the two owners established, and residents who enter the gym are handed citations by officers immediately after walking out.

The tension between the state and the gym reached an all-time high last week when Trumbetti and Smith were arrested after kicking down the boards the state had put on their gym’s windows in an effort to prevent them from opening the gym.

“We’re being villainized as small businesses in general, that we’re responsible for the spread,” Smith told Cuomo. “But over 50% of the deaths are coming from places that are supposed to be under a governor’s control.”

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is now recommending a daily $10,000 fine if Trumbetti and Smith continue to reopen their gym, and local officials are threatening to revoke the gym’s license permanently.

Smith and Trumbetti, however, said they have no intention of shutting things back down.

“We are over 4 months into an economic shutdown that was supposed to be 14 days,” Smith said. “It’s time to end this and resume life in a safe and responsible manner.”

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