OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Another South Jersey gym owner is preparing to defy state orders and reopen next week. But he won’t be alone, dozens of other businesses are slated to join him.
The goal is to reopen multiple gyms and local businesses by 9 a.m. Monday. The “Gym Coalition” says it’s all part of a mass opening to finally earn an income again.
New Jersey gyms have been closed for months with no date on when they may reopen. CBS3 found one West Deptford bodybuilder who got creative to help his clients meet their fitness goals.
“Whatever you have in the gym, I have here as well. And many of my clients also have a combination of equipment that we incorporate as well,” Mobile Fit owner Jermaine Smith said.
But other gym owners are taking matters into their own hands.
Chris Lambert says it’s all being done respectfully, under the “Gym Coalition.” He has a message for Gov. Phil Murphy.
“I would love to just simply have a date. If you gave us a hard fast date that we can prepare, get ready, we’re happy with that,” said Lambert, owner of four Atilis Gym locations.
Lambert has multiple locations, including Wildwood, Sea Isle City, Egg Harbor Township and Ocean City.
In fact, the controversial Bellmawr gym is part of his franchise, but Lambert says he’s reopening differently.
“I do not agree with those guys. I feel that they are hurting our cause. We’re not about bashing this governor, we’re not about calling him names,” Lambert said.
The “Gym Coalition” started out as an effort to reopen fitness gyms with more than 100 gyms on board. It has since transitioned into a coalition with multiple New Jersey businesses.
“Hundreds, hundreds of salons are a part of this. Everything from jewelry stores, car washes, you name it, are opening. We honestly feel like we’ve exhausted all of our efforts,” Lambert said.
Though everyone was forced out of gyms, the coalition is hoping more businesses join their cause to reopen.
“We deserve the chance to make money so we don’t lose everything,” Lambert said.