‘That does not scare me’: Oxford gym owner prepared to go to jail to keep business open during pandemic

OXFORD, MASS. (WHDH) – The owner of a gym in Oxford is facing hefty fines for reopening his business during the pandemic.

A judge ordered the town to slap Dave Blondin, owner Prime Fitness & Nutrition, Inc. on Norwood Court, with fines of $1,000 dollars a day for every day he is open against the governor’s orders.

So far, he has been issued 18 violations for defying the state’s stay-at-home advisory, according to town officials.

Blondin said he owes about $5,100 in fines but that he plans to appeal them in court on Friday, adding that he is prepared to go to jail if necessary but that he will not shut down his gym.

“I truly feel that my rights were violated,” Blondin said. “We’re being treated as peasants and not as Americans.”

Blondin explained that he has been taking extra precautions to help curb the spread of the virus, including increased disinfecting, limiting capacity to 25 percent, and offering gym members one-hour time slots to work out.

He said that none of his members nor his staff contracted COVID-19.

Those working out in the gym told 7NEWS they feel safe and grateful to Blondin for refusing to close.

“My clients are super happy to get back. A lot of them didn’t have motivation on their own and yeah, it’s super exciting to be back,” trainer Courtney Cotnoii said.

Despite all this, Blondin was clear that he will not be locking his doors.

“Potentially arrested — it’s 100 percent worth it. I do not care about that, that does not scare me. If they think that it’s going to scare me then they can go right ahead and do so,” Blondin said. “These are my rights as an American and I will protect this business with everything.”

The judge tossed around the idea of sending the National Guard to close the gym down but decided to save that for an upcoming hearing on Tuesday.

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