View this post on Instagram
I hate the fact that it has to come to this. Governor Murphy can portray us in whatever villainous way he wants, but our hands are forced here and that’s his fault. We are over 4 months into an economic shutdown that was supposed to be 14 days. It is time to end this and resume life in a safe and responsible manner. Small business is not solely responsible for the spread of the virus yet we are targeted as such and unfairly treated. You will not trample on our rights and you will not destroy our lives. We will not back down. Ever. Please share this to show what lengths we have to go to just to make a living for our families.
The owners of Atilis gym in New Jersey reopened on Saturday by kicking down the wooden barricades authorities used to block their entrance amid coronavirus restrictions.
Co-owner Ian Smith posted a video of himself and his business partner, Frank Trumbetti, kicking the barriers and entering as a crowd cheers their decision. The dramatic display indicated that the months-long standoff between Gov. Phil Murphy and the gym owners wasn't finished.
Smith's caption contained a defiant message for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy: "You will not trample one [sic] our rights and you will not destroy our lives. We will not back down. Ever."
Smith added: "Please share this to show what lengths we have to go to just to make a living for our families."
NEW JERSEY GYM OWNER DEFIANT AFTER ARREST FOR VIOLATING STAY-AT-HOME ORDER: 'I'M NOT AFRAID OF TYRANTS'
The gym owners' story has become a symbol of American business owners' frustration with authorities blocking their livelihoods during the pandemic. Some, like Trumbetti and Smith, have been arrested or fined for attempting to reopen despite shutdowns in their respective jurisdictions.
Smith and Trumbetti were arrested on Monday after they defied a court order allowing authorities to shut down their business. By Friday, Smith had apparently been released as he posted a video of himself announcing his decision to knock down the wooden barriers. New Jersey authorities, he said, erected those barriers after he and others removed the doors from their hinges in order to prevent the state from once again changing the locks.
"Tyrants use force to exercise their will - threat of imprisonment, financial ruin, and more," Smith wrote on Instagram.
"And a tyrant is what we have in office. No science, no data, only co... (Read more)
View this post on Instagram
We didn’t pick this fight. This fight came to us. Frank and I made a promise to each other that we would see this thing all the way through - no matter what. We have not broken any laws, yet we are being treated like criminals. Tyrants use force to exercise their will - threat of imprisonment, financial ruin, and more. And a tyrant is what we have in office. No science, no data, only conclusive statements with no proof. We presented a plan, a sensible one and opened responsibly - and you decided to make it personal, so now here we are. You will not tread on my rights, you will not ruin everything we’ve worked our whole lives for, and you will be held responsible for your trespasses. #lionsnotsheep
Submitted 10 days ago