TRENTON, N.J. – It’s been five months since gyms in New Jersey were ordered to shut down, so Assemblyman Brian Bergen is now willing to drive 53 miles from his home in Denville to workout at Planet Fitness in Nazareth, Pa.
“Health and fitness are as important to me as they are to many people,” said Bergen (R-Morris). “I don’t understand why we can’t do these things in New Jersey when it is being done safely in Pennsylvania.”
Bergen said his local gym had to shut down after Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order forced gyms and fitness centers to close on March 16. Since that time, only outdoor training and one-on-one fitness classes have been allowed to restart.
Gyms in Pennsylvania and Connecticut were allowed to reopen in June. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced this week that gyms and fitness centers can reopen in his state starting August 24. Initially, the four governors had agreed to work together to reopen their states.
Murphy, speaking during a news conference on Wednesday, pushed back against calls from the state’s business groups that industries with prohibited indoor activities, such as gyms and dining, should be allowed to roll out their own reopening plans.
“Murphy refuses any advice from industry experts, and has so far failed to give any clear data driven parameters for reopening gyms and restaurants,” continued Bergen. “I’m convinced he’s using a magic 8-ball for his decisions. It’s the only way to make sense of the randomness.”
Last week, Bergen posted pictures on Facebook at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Easton, Pa., showing that indoor dining was also open in Pennsylvania.
Bergen introduced legislation (A4147) that would require legislative approval for executive orders within 14 days or expire. Democrats shot down the bill when Republicans motioned for its passage at an Assembly session on June 29.