Dozens protest town of Oxford shutting gym after owner opened against state restrictions

OXFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - Dozens of people protested Oxford officials shutting down a local gym Saturday after the owner re-opened against state orders.

Dave Blondin, owner of Prime Fitness, has been battling with officials since re-opening in May despite gyms not receiving permission to resume business. Gyms are not slated to open until July 6 at the earliest.

After Blondin was fined $1,000 a day for several days and refused to close, a judge ruled the town could shut him down, citing public safety, and officials changed the locks on the building and shut off power and water.

“Everything is locked, everything is changed, the batteries are all dead for the key fobs, so we have no access to the building whatsoever,” Blondin said.

In a statement, a lawyer for the town of Oxford said that by shutting down the gym “the town is hopeful that this action will resolve the matter and assure protection of public health and safety, which is the sole intent of the town in this action.”

Blondin said he was providing an important health service by opening the gym.

“People’s mental health is severely declining. A lot of my clients I work with one on one are in a really bad place with alcohol or drugs, the gym is their outlet,” Blondin said. “All these other places for people to do, liquor stores and this and that, that’s people’s outlet. What about the people recovering from that?”

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