A New Jersey gym owner, who flouted statewide restrictions in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, wants to reward those who opt not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination with a free membership.
Ian Smith, who owns Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, N.J., tweeted Tuesday his offering is a counter-promotion to Krispy Kreme’s recent pledge to provide one free daily doughnut to anyone receiving a vaccine.
“We believe in health — the real way — exercise, good diet, plenty of Vitamin D, Zinc, and an environment to destress,” Smith wrote.
Smith has turned into a conservative politics figure of sorts. He was recently on the list of speakers at CPAC in Orlando, Florida, and refused to wear a mask on his return flight, resulting in American Airlines banning him from flying.
Atilis Gym reopened in late May 2020, in defiance of statewide COVID-19 restrictions. The state of New Jersey shut them down days later with Smith rebuking state and county health departments.
“Indoor gyms and fitness centers present particularly high-risk settings for the spread of COVID-19, in part because customers of these facilities engage in physical activities that increase the customers’ respiratory activity, which in turn can increase the amount of respiratory droplets or aerosols in a confined setting,” the closure order stated.
Although Atilis Gym “is purporting to take its own measures to address COVID-19 transmission” the state cannot “simply allow business owners to set their own divergent health measures, done without the approval of the state and its health officials,” the order continued.
The area of New York and New Jersey became a hot spot in the early months of the pandemic. As cases and death have declined in recent weeks due to widespread distribution of Coronavirus vaccines, so will the need for restrictions. A factor Smith is wagering on as more people become fully-vaccinated and ready to get live back to a new normal.