What took place this morning at Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ was a blatant violation of our United States Constitution, of our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Welcome to 2020…
Government officials get to decide who can earn a living; Who can go to work; Who can exercise their “freedom” – both figuratively and literally.
Does this look like freedom to you?! Arresting small business owners, boarding up the doors of a business that keeps people healthy amidst a global pandemic.
Our people are dying. Not by a virus, but by oppression.
The truth is: COVID will not kill the majority of us. But its fear mongering will kill our small businesses. COVID will not suffocate our airways, but its media-induced panic will suffocate our rights as Americans, our livelihoods, and our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Thousands of us continue to sit at home. Watching. Waiting for a man at a conference table to PERMIT us to go back to work. Incorrect assumptions are being made about those of us [who want to return to our lives] who assert our freedoms to reclaim our physical and mental health.
Right now, in New Jersey you can shop at the mall. You can go to any fast food restaurant. You can get your hair and nails done. You can even get a tattoo! You can drive down the shore. You can walk the boardwalk. You can ride amusements. You can crowd into lines and onto beaches, you can grab drinks with your friends, you can participate in contact sports during peak sweating season.
But you cannot socially distance in a Power rack at Atilis Gym, a facility that operates with proper safety protocols. Temperatures are taken and recorded daily before anyone enters. Everyone must sign [multiple] waivers, you cannot enter if you have come in contact with anyone who has COVID, if you present with any symptoms, or if you’ve been traveling. Every single person is given their own personal sanitized sanitizer bottle. You clean any equipment you touch before and after use, the next person cleans before and after use, so on and so forth.
People who have never stepped foot in a gym argue: “Gyms are dirty!” If gyms are so dirty, why are gym-goers among the healthiest populations, with the strongest immune systems to protect against pathogens and diseases (like coronavirus)?! We are not the people getting sick because we have prioritized our health before it was ever threatened by COVID-19, unlike the majority of America. Atilis Gym has been operating indoors since July 4th, without a single positive COVID case.
The machines at Atilis have undergone double, even triple sanitization prior to use. Can you say the same for that loaf of bread you purchased at the grocery store?! Supermarkets and superstores like Walmart are overcrowded; people touch items they do not purchase – without protection. No concern there!
Immunocompromised teachers and students beg to stay home, yet there is talk of sending them back. While a “non-essential” community of gym owners and staff members, personal trainers, and members are pleading to be permitted by government to go back to the gym. To return to work. To earn a living!
Ian and Frank of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ are standing up for our God-given constitutional rights. They fight for their gym, yes, but they also fight for small business owners; they represent a community of people whose lives have been turned upside-down.
On March 16, 2020, we were stripped of our freedoms and ordered to go home within a matter of hours. Today is July 27, 2020. There is no plan to reopen, no talk of when we will be able to afford groceries and pay our bills again.
Our governor asked for fourteen days. Yet here we are – on Day One Hundred and Thirty-Three of gym closures.
Ian and Frank were arrested, their business boarded up.
They most ironic thing? I have seen police officers at Atilis Gym working out. They are members! They support Ian and Frank’s mission, yet they are forced to comply with orders from an oppressive governor. Who, by the way, has flat-out lied on television to make himself look like a hero.
One man’s power trip is being falsely painted as public safety, as public health. Murphy is fighting Atilis and wrongfully ruining people’s lives just to prove that he holds the power.
Our government officials are elected to represent us, not rule over us.
These unlawful shutdowns are no longer about our safety, they are about political power.
On a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Ian was asked about Public Health. His response: “Public Health is not a one-dimensional issue.”
The CDC Foundation defines Public Health as “the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities.” Quoted directly from their website: “This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles…Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations.”
Entire populations. Not just the less than one percent who are at risk of dying of COVID-19.
Why are young, healthy Americans being forced to sit at home on our sofas and watch the economy crash before our eyes? Why are we being forced inside by the government; told our businesses and lives are “non-essential”?! Who is the government to determine who is essential and who is not?! It is un-American; unconstitutional.
I am a Graduate Student of Dietetics. I study Exercise Science. I am earning a Wellness Certificate of Graduate Study. Health, as I have been taught, is just as much mental as it is physical.
Prior to the mandated shutdown, I worked the front desk at a health club. Do you know how many people I have encountered who go to the gym for their mental well-being?? So many people have used the gym as a coping mechanism to overcome alcohol dependency, drug addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. I myself had a [minor] relapse of my eating disorder as a result of losing my therapy: the gym.
Science has shown that the mental health aspect of physical activity has profound effects on the brain. Exercise releases the same hormones as antidepressant drugs. You cannot quit an antidepressant cold turkey without serious risks and negative consequences. Yet our governor held an impromptu press conference on March 16th, and forcefully removed a coping mechanism as effective as narcotic drugs.
Depression is skyrocketing. Anxiety is through the roof. Suicides are resulting from social isolation. We are being separated from our community of like-minded people.
It is not just a workout! It is our therapy.
The ignorance of others sickens me.
Just as a mask protects you, the gym protects us – From dark, dark places. Many have lost hope. Many have reverted back to old ways, resorting to unhealthy behaviors.
Many find themselves unable to breathe from anxiety and uncertainty. How will we afford to live? What will happen to our families if our businesses fail?!
I do not know one person with COVID-19. But I know friends who now have to fight the urge to self-harm because they no longer have their therapy; their coping mechanism.
And what about the 50-year-old man who relied on the local gym’s treadmill to rehab heart disease and treat hypertension?
What about my 81-year-old Granny who relied on Senior classes at our gym to help her stay mobile?! 5 days a week of flexibility, balance and physical therapy for degenerative disk disease and osteoporosis – gone.
What about those seniors who got up every day to see their friends at the local gym because it brought them joy and purpose after the devasting loss of their lifelong companion?! What good is protecting seniors from COVID-19 if it means they will deteriorate in loneliness and isolation?!
Our mental and physical health is under attack! Our wellbeing! Our livelihood!
How is this “public health?!”
Protestors have burned down businesses and destroyed our monuments, our history. But a local man cannot open the doors of the business he has worked his entire life to cultivate?! This is who is arrested?! A man who represents an oppressed community and fights for our God-given rights?!
I have lost many followers in the past several days for speaking out and standing up for my RIGHTS. For standing with Atilis to reclaim my freedom. For advocating health for everyone, not just <1% of the population.
I don’t care how many followers I lose, I will continue to defend my freedom. What’s right is right! If you do not see an issue with what is happening here in NJ, you are falling victim to tyranny.
People who disagree angrily message me and tell me that I am selfish; that I do not “care for my fellow human.”
I stand with Atilis because I care for my fellow human. I stand for the gyms. I stand for holistic health. I stand for mental wellbeing. I stand for small business. I stand for the Constitution. I stand for America.
I stand with Atilis.