Virus Outbreak-Defiant Gym

Atilis Gym co-owner Frank Trumbetti speaks May 19, 2020, with police officers outside his gym in Bellmawr, N.J. The gym reopened for business early Monday, defying a state order that shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

(The Center Square) – A Republican state assemblyman said it’s time for the Legislature to hold hearings on New Jersey’s stay-at-home orders.

State Assemblyman Jon Bramnick cited a Bellmawr gym owner’s defiance of the orders as the catalyst for hearings. Frank Trumbetti opened his doors for a second day Tuesday and received a second citation from police, according to news media reports. Trumbetti says he will open every day until he is arrested.

Bramnick said on Facebook that now is the time to discuss COVID-19 closures.

“The decision making must be made in public and transparent,” Bramnick said. “The public deserves transparency.”

Gov. Phil Murphy has announced several openings in the past few weeks, including the Jersey Shore, which will open Friday for Memorial Day weekend. Businesses will reopen in stages, but Murphy has not released a timeline. The governor issued an executive order Tuesday that allows automobile and motorcycle dealers to make in-person sales.

Republican Sen. Anthony Bucco said some businesses are “out of time.” He is submitting a reopening plan he worked on with a Morris County Chamber of Commerce task force to Murphy, he said.

“I’ve sadly heard from businesses who are at their breaking point, while others are just days or a few short weeks from closing for good,” Bucco said in a statement. “With the highest risk businesses like grocery and big box stores operating successfully with proper mitigation, its well past the time to reopen all businesses so they have a chance to survive this crisis. Otherwise, we face severe ripple effects deep into state and local budgets that have downstream impacts on school funding, social services, tax relief, and more.”

The governor said he has not seen the plan but applauds them for their efforts.

“But I would also remind them that there’s one binding set of rules of the road, and it’s ours,” Murphy said. “We move as one state.”

Murphy’s plan does not address social gatherings like high school graduations.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean is asking Murphy to allow in-person, outdoor ceremonies.

“The Class of 2020 has worked hard throughout more than a dozen years of schooling, and they deserve the opportunity to be recognized and celebrate their achievements,” Kean said in statement. “Holding ceremonies outside with social distancing polities in place will ensure seniors are not deprived of this important memory. I am calling for school districts and health officials to work together to ensure New Jersey’s graduates can commemorate their accomplishments as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

Families do have a reason to “have hope” graduations will happen, Murphy said during his Tuesday news conference.

“Bear with us,” he said. “We are trying to figure this one out and I hope sooner than later.”