Massachusetts gym fined $300 for opening early amid coronavirus pandemic, another gym also reopens

A cease and desist order could be coming soon

OXFORD, MA. – MAY 19: Dave Blondin, owner of Prime Fitness & Nutrition, Inc. opened his doors despite Governor Bakers orders on May 19, 2020 in Oxford, Massachusetts(Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
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The Oxford gym owner who ignored Gov. Charlie Baker’s ban on fitness studios and opened up this week has been fined $300, while a Cape Cod gym owner has followed his lead and also reopened early amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Fitness & Nutrition owner Dave Blondin said he was fined $300 by the town’s Board of Health agent after receiving verbal and written warnings.

The fine, and future penalties, are not causing him to budge.

“We’re going to remain open,” Blondin said on Thursday.

Massachusetts is in Phase 1 of reopening its economy amid the coronavirus crisis, and gyms are not allowed to reopen until Phase 3.

Under the state’s enforcement guidance, businesses can be fined $300 three times before a cease and desist order is issued.

“I’ll fight it,” Blondin said of a potential cease and desist order.

His attorney told Blondin to call him when that order gets served.

The Town of Oxford did not respond for comment on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Town Manager Jennifer Callahan said in a statement, “Let it be clear, the Town will take all measures necessary to ensure compliance, but will follow the procedures outlined by the enforcement guidance. If necessary, we are prepared to file an injunction should compliance not be not be reached per such guidance.”

More than $7,000 has been raised to support Prime Fitness in the last few days. Donations not used toward fines will be donated to mental health organizations, reads the GoFundMe page.

Meanwhile, Bodystrong Fitness in Chatham has also opened up early, co-owner Corey Clark said on Thursday.

“We followed their lead,” he said of the Oxford gym. “We need to all band together. It’s time to put our foot down.”

The Cape Cod gym opened on Wednesday and received a verbal warning, followed by a written warning on Thursday. The first $300 fine could come on Friday.

If the town issues a cease and desist order, Clark said he’s ready to challenge it before a judge.

“I’ve already had a few attorneys who are members offer legal services,” he said. “We’re going to fight this as far as we can.”

The gym has implemented safety measures, including a no-contact temperature scan for everyone entering the facility; a maximum capacity of 20 people at a time, which is 10% of normal capacity; using hand sanitizer upon entering; and closing the gym’s lockers, showers and changing rooms.