Massachusetts officials cut water and power to a gym that refused to obey the coronavirus shutdown

Prime Fitness owner David Blondin has refused to shut down Prime Fitness in Oxford, MassachusettsDavid Blondin/Facebook / Google Street View / Business Insider
  • Authorities have cut off electricity and water to a Massachusetts gym that refused to close despite multiple orders, local media reports.
  • Prime Fitness and Nutrition in Oxford has received thousands of dollars in fines but continued to defy local lockdown rules in place since May 18.
  • Although the gym took some measures to adapt to the pandemic, owner David Blondin told users not to use face masks.
  • Blondin is now calling on customers to join a Saturday protest at which suggested signs include "Gym lives matter," "mental health matters" and "Black Lives Matter."

Water and power has been shut off at a Massachusetts gym after its owner refused state shutdown orders for almost five weeks, The Boston Globe reported.

Prime Fitness and Nutrition in Oxford, Worcester County, continued operating despite a May 18 shutdown order and thousands of dollars in fines, the Globe reported.

Mark Reich, an attorney for the town, said the utilities were shut off on Thursday to "protect public health and safety" in the coronavirus pandemic, the paper reported. The locks were also changed, Reich said.Advertisement

Owner David Blondin defended the gym by saying it was opening at reduced capacity, according to local news site MassLive.

But he had also instructed users not to wear masks, as it would impede their breathing, local news site MassLive reported.

Masks in public are mandatory under Massachusetts' current lockdown.
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Blondin has now announced a protest at the gym on Saturday, even with the lights off, via a Facebook post.

Prime Fitness owner David Blondin staging a one-man protest outside his gym in this video still.David Blondin/Facebook
Massachusetts is among the US states hit hardest by the coronavirus. It has reported more than 100,000 cases and 7,770 deaths, according to The Guardian. Advertisement

The state's lockdown means that gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed and only essential businesses can open, according to The Wall Street Journal. People are meant to leave the house only for some permitted work, healthcare, worship, shopping and outdoor activities.

The state's reopening plan will only let gyms start up again no earlier than June 29, according to The Boston Globe.

Worcester County Judge Susan E. Sullivan on Tuesday issued an order of contempt to the gym, on top of 17 earlier citations, MassLive reported. Advertisement

In her order she wrote that the refusal to comply "is not only a blatant disregard for the court and its authority but also threatens the spread of COVID-19 further within the town and the commonwealth," according to MassLive.

Since an earlier court order on June 5, the gym's owner David Blondin has been given fines of $1,000 a day on top of previous fines, according to MassLive.

Blondin will now allow free entry to the "protest area" at his gym on Saturday as long as patrons bring a protest sign, he said in his Facebook post. Advertisement

His suggested protest slogans included "Gym lives matter, mental health matters, Black Lives Matter, freedom of speech matters, whatever you prefer," he said.

"For some reason it's ok for there to be a line of hundreds of people down the road at TJ Maxx," he also said. "I honestly think people are more fighting each other over candles and crop tops than they are at a gym full of sanitizer."

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