BELLMAWR, NJ – The fight between the people and Governor Phil Murphy took another late afternoon twist at Phil Murphy’s daily COVID-19 press conference. Murphy today eluded that his administration would take action if today’s events at a Bellmawr gym continued tomorrow, prompting reporters to ask him if he feels the situation could spiral out of control.
“I’m not concerned it will spiral out of control, if it does, we will take action,” Murphy said. “If you show up at that gym tomorrow, there will be a different reality than showing today, these aren’t just words, we also have to enforce this, but I also don’t want to start World War III. I’m not worried about that right now, but people are doing the right thing…because they’re smart.”
“Today’s actions at that gym were a violation of the executive order,” said State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan.
Today is shaping up to be a huge victory in the peoples’ fight against the executive orders of Governor Phil Murphy. This morning, hundreds of supporters showed up at the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey to protest the inconsistent plan by Governor Phil Murphy to reopen the state’s businesses. Gym members arrived at the gym early in the morning and were allowed inside after their temperatures were taken and they filled out social distancing and health compliance forms by the owner. Hundreds lined the parking lot with American flags and chanting in support of the business and in opposition to Phil Murphy.
Bellmawr police officers showed up at the event but took no actions other than helping the municipal department of public works employees block off areas of the parking lot. Police who arrived at the rally notified the gym’s owners that they were in violation of Governor Phil Murphy’s executive orders and remained on the site, so far, only to observe. Later in the day, police officers seemed reluctant that they had to return to the business.
Hours after turning a blind eye to the protest, officers returned to the gym later in the day after being forced by higher authorities to issue the business owners each a summons. Those summonses were for violation of Governor Phil Murphy’s executive orders. The owners understood the position of the police officers and asked those in attendance at the rally to show the officers respect.
Related: A new law coming from Ocean County Republican legislators could lead to fines for the business owners as high as $15,000.
“We have come to advise you that you’re in violation of an executive order,” the officer told the owners early Monday morning. “We are and were always here for everyone’s safety. We planned for the worst and hoped for the best and that’s what we have here today. Formally you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day, everybody be safe.”
The officers then left the business and returned to the parking lot to ensure the safety and order of the protest.
“I was prepared for the worst and hoping for the best, that was better than the best. They told us that we were in violation of an executive order and have a good day. They protected and served the people,” said owner Frank Trumbetti. “We finish working today and reopen tomorrow, and we keep doing it right and open up the day after that and we encourage everyone to do the same thing. The constitution is there to restrain the government, not the citizens.”
“No matter what happens, we won,” he said. “Not sure if New Jersey State Police will show up… everyone will understand nationally and locally will know where the order came from, because people in our community believe we’re doing the right thing. The pandemic isn’t killing us, the government is.”
Now, all eyes are on Governor Phil Murphy to see if he is willing to escalate the ongoing crisis, in turn, making martyrs out of the gym’s owners.