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New Jersey gym that defied lockdowns finally gets business license restored but says: ‘The fight is far from over’

The New Jersey gym that made headlines for defying the state’s COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020 finally got its business license restored after hefty fines and legal fees.

The Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, announced this week that it had its mercantile license restored by the borough of Bellmawr.

“The township folded. They reinstated our business license. It took them 2 years to realize that nothing would make us kneel,” the owners of the gym wrote on Instagram.

“When we reopened @theatilisgym we had no idea it would be this hard of a fight,” the owners wrote. “We just knew it wasn’t right, and we were going to stand our ground for ourselves, our families, and the rights of all Americans.”

The gym alleged that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his “cowardly cronies at the Health Department, the AG’s office, the Sheriff’s Department, and his lackey Judge Robert Lougy tried to bury us.”

The post noted that the gym’s co-owners – Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti – as well as a member of the Atilis Gym, were arrested for violating Murphy’s lockdown order. Smith and Trumbetti pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal contempt, and were sentenced to a year of probation in January.

There were allegedly nine criminal charges and more than 90 citations launched in connection with the gym being open during the lockdown, according to the owners of the gym.

The owners claimed to have paid more than $300,000 in legal bills, had $173,000 seized, and were fined $15,497.76 per day over the span of five months.

In December 2020, Smith estimated that the gym was fined more than $1.2 million.

In January 2021, Smith said that he and Trumetti had no money in their bank accounts because “the state emptied out every single dollar that we have.”

The Atlilis Gym owners said that when the government took its business license that it robbed them of their “ability to pursue the American dream.”

“The fight is far from over, but from the bottom of our hearts we are sending out the biggest of thanks to the community that kept us safe, gave us a reason to fight, and picked us up every single time we got knocked down,” the owners said.

“No matter how determined we were, it would not have been possible to weather the storm if it were just us,” the owners added. “Our members, the local community, the people of New Jersey, around the country, and around the world made it all possible.”

During the lockdown, when the gym wasn’t permitted to operate and accept payments, the Instagram post said the gym was able to stay afloat from donations and t-shirt sales.

Smith announced he was running for Congress in January. Smith plans to challenge Democratic incumbent Rep. Andy Kim to represent New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.

“I am truly excited to have the possibility to serve the people of [New Jersey] with a platform focused on liberty, small government, and America First policies,” Smith declared.

Smith was arrested on March 27, and charged with driving while intoxicated. Smith told police that he had one alcoholic beverage – a margarita. Police cruiser dashcam video shows Smith’s vehicle swerving between lanes while driving.

According to NJ.com, Smith told police officers during his arrest, “You know I’m a congressional candidate for this district, right?”

Steve Kush, a spokesman for Smith, said he believes his client passed the sobriety tests and said, “He wasn’t drunk for obvious reasons.”