‘Free men don't ask permission’: New Jersey gym owner DEFIES Covid closure orders despite facing ‘$1.2 MILLION in fines’ (VIDEO)
Smith, who co-owns Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, has been operating as normal for large parts of 2020 despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation decimating large sections of the economy, and has refused to co-operate with shutdown orders put in place designed at limiting the spread of the virus which has killed almost 300,000 Americans this year.
And Smith outlined on social media, he intends to keep operating as normal - despite being hit with massive fines from authorities.
In a video posted by TMZ, Smith held a series of placards in which he outlined the situation he faces.
"Welcome to the Atilis Gym Bellmawr," Smith's silent demonstration began. "We have over $1 million in fines. We have had our business license stripped. We have had our doors locked and barricaded. We have been arrested and have over 60 citations.
"Today we will pass 84,000 visits to our facility. We don't mandate masks. We never will. Gov. Murphy will see this video and fine us $15k for it.
"But... free men don't ask permission. Or for forgiveness. No science. No shutdown."
After Smith completes his audio-visual presentation, an unidentified voice can be heard off camera saying: "F*ck you Murphy."
Smith's act of defiance is the latest instance of he and his gym railing against the restrictions being forced upon many small businesses in the US, with the gym owner previously suggesting that he had been "held hostage" by local officials due to his insistence in staying open in spite of local mandates.
"Small businesses have been held hostage for political purposes," Smith announced in September. "OUR SCIENCE IS CLEAR. We now DEMAND that our elected officials show us the science in which they used to shutter our businesses and keep us isolated. It is time to reopen this country. No more shutdowns. No more masks. Kids back in school. IN PERSON VOTING. It’s time to make some noise."Also on rt.com Gym seeks to dodge Poland’s new Covid-19 lockdown by rebranding as ‘Church of the Healthy Body’
And given the media attention apparent due to Smith's anti-authoritarian slant, it certainly seems like the noise he was seeking is echoing through the ears of local government officials in New Jersey - but it remains to be seen what measures might be taken if this descends into a public relations nightmare for Gov. Murphy and his team.
But short of welding the doors shut, it certainly seems as if nothing will stop Smith from operating his facility as normal - even if those fines continue to mount.