WILTON MANORS, Fla. – After officers shut down down Bodytek Fitness Wilton Manors for 24 hours, the gym reopened to members who were eager to workout. Members were wearing face masks, but they were not wearing them properly in the eyes of code enforcement officers.
Michael Verdugo, the owner of Bodytek Fitness Wilton Manors, said he understands the science and the concerns, so he has asked his members to wear face masks. This is why he couldn’t believe that code enforcement officers were punishing him.
The business was found in violation and warned on Aug. 4 and 5th before being found in violation again on the 6th, when it was ordered to shut down.
“I feel like they were hunting and they were just on the prowl,” Verdugo said.
In an effort to keep the disease from spreading, Broward County has strict rules about wearing face masks indoors. The rules are meant to protect the people who are most vulnerable. According to the Florida Department of Health, 782 people have died of the disease in Broward County.
Verdugo said he is supportive of the public health measures. He and other business owners are worried about what they perceive to be unfair measures. He is going to continue disinfecting, performing temperature checks and requiring face masks.
Michael Carnevale has been arrested three times in Plantation. He is the owner of Fitness 1440. When code enforcement officers ordered it shut down for another four days, his solution was to move the equipment to the parking lot. Officers found him in violation of the order.
Carnevale was first arrested for not requiring his gym’s members to wear a face mask during workouts. He said he plans to file a lawsuit against Broward County over the validity of the rules and the civil penalties.
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Correction: The original report included an allegation that the gym wasn’t warned on Aug. 4-5, but documents later showed the gym received warnings both days before the order.