OXFORD (CBS) – An escalating standoff with the town of Oxford and a local gym owner came to a head as the town moved in and changed the locks and ordered any members inside to leave. This week a judge ruled the town could use whatever means necessary to close the facility and took the first step overnight by turning off the water and electricity.
In the afternoon, a constable posted a copy of the court order and soon after the locks were being changed.
“I understand shutdown laws and rules but enough is enough,” said Prime Fitness owner David Blondin.
Under the state’s emergency shutdown order gyms are not allowed to open until phase 3, but Blondin reopened his doors one month ago with the support of his members.
“You’re going to have 25-30 people at the most. Down the street at Walmart and Target it’s a hundred people at one time. It’s ridiculous,” said member James Lauzonis.
Oxford town counsel Mark Reich called it a matter of public health and safety. “This kind of operation could lead to a spike in the virus. I don’t think we should be impacted by the intent of one individual to flout the law,” said Reich.
Blondin faces $1300 a day in mounting fines and believes the town has other intentions. “It almost seems they want to put me out of business completely,” Blondin said.
Several members of Prime Fitness showed up around sunrise Thursday and found out they had to work out in the dark and they couldn’t take showers.
“My members are free willingly walking in the door and working out. So technically, if the business is closed due to no electricity, then they’re not really working out in a facility anymore, they’re working out in a vacant building,” Blondin said earlier Thursday. “As a resident of Oxford, a business owner, a taxpayer, someone that promotes health and fitness and the fact that they’re treating me like this is very disrespectful.”
Just after 4 p.m., the locks were changed and members were asked to leave the gym.
Blondin is determined that Prime Fitness will survive, but it may be the courts that determine how that will happen.