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What’s being reported as a ‘mysterious’ sewage backup has prompted the New Jersey Department of Health and its Camden County counterpart to shut down the Atilis Gym which opened on Monday despite New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s lockdown order.
Wads of paper towels were reportedly found in the pipes and caused the backup, but the owners say they don’t even use paper towels in their bathroom. They also plan to open the doors back up on Friday.
Atilis Gym owners questioned the backup and said they’re investigating the situation.
“We’re investigating how that can mysteriously happen after being threatened with the Board of Health,” one of the gym owners said.
According to the owners, the toilet backup occurred less than an hour after Murphy announced in a press conference that he would impose restrictions on the gym through the health department.
With appropriate social distancing and some high-tech measures, the gym located in the south Jersey town of Bellmawr near Philadelphia reopened on Monday to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters.
On Monday, police initially informed the owners they were in violation of Murphy’s edict but left, wishing everyone a nice day. Co-owner Ian Smith claims that higher-ups intervened, and cops subsequently returned to issue a summons.
As far as this inexplicable sewage issue, Smith said that “this is just a bump in the road for us. We opened on Monday, we stayed open Tuesday, and we stayed open on Wednesday, and Murphy does not have a legal precedent to shut us down. So he’s resorted to calling in the health department.
“However, all of these messages on the wall from the health department were put on without them ever stepping inside and taking a look at the facility…so that tells us we’re doing the right thing because it’s a scare tactic, and we have our lawyers on it…and our plan is to handle it and reopen tomorrow.”
Smith told the media that the gym could have opened today, but he and Frank Trumbetti wanted to comply with the notices that officials, accompanied by several police officers, posted in the overnight hours.
The owners evacuated the gym after the backup and called in plumbers to remedy the situation and are investigating how the whole thing happened.
Breaking Update: Atilis Gym owners discovered it was paper towels stuffed into their plumbing that caused sewer back up hour after latest threatened action of health code shutdown possibly. “We don’t even have paper towels in our bathrooms so we are investigating.” @fox29philly pic.twitter.com/TcVPynBDGZ
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) May 21, 2020
According to ABC News, the Atilis Gym is serious about creating a safe environment within which its members can work out.
“Among the precautions the gym owners took were taping off workout stations and operating at 20% of the building’s capacity, meaning about 44 patrons at a time. They also were requiring patrons to wear masks unless they were in the middle of lifting weights. Gym staff are taking patrons’ temperatures at the door and anyone at 100.4 or above will not be allowed inside. The gym’s owners have also said it wouldn’t allow any new members to join.”
Murphy’s attorney general has claimed that gym members “actions threaten not only public safety, but also the safety of our police officers who are being called upon to disperse gatherings both inside and outside the gym.”
NJ Health Dept ordered Atilis Gym SHUTDOWN. Taped to front window over gum name by front doors, 4 page order signed by NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. Also 6 orange Camden County ‘Notice of Embargo’ stickers from Camden County Enviornmental Health dept @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/ljjYNqhFq9
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) May 21, 2020
If power-hungry Democrats like Phil Murphy and their functionaries were really concerned about public health, instead of harassing business owners they would authorize gyms to reopen sooner rather than later. This is because the medical community has acknowledged that obesity is one of the primary risk factors for COVID-19.
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