A Broward County gym owner has been arrested for the third time, after police say that he repeatedly failed to comply with health guidelines to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Michael Carnevale was taken into custody last Thursday and bonded out, only to be re-arrested on Friday along with his wife.
His gym, which is called Fitness 1440, was shut down for at least 96 hours.
Carnevale says his arrest on Friday was unjustified, since no one was actually inside the facility, and he had moved all of the workout equipment outside for members to use in the parking lot.
“We really have to start asking questions is when they’re telling gym owners and yoga studio operators, your patrons have to wear a facial covering while exercising. Those of us in the fitness industry understand that’s not safe. This is something we can’t subscribe to anymore,” Carnevale explains.
Records show that Carnevale was originally arrested late last month. He filed a lawsuit on July 26 against Broward County for injunctive relief, claiming that his business has been negatively impacted by county emergency orders.
Police officers told members of the gym in the parking lot on Friday that they could not use the equipment, since the gym has been shut down.
Staff members then moved the equipment back inside the facility.
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Carnevale and his wife, Jillian Gilbert, walked out of the Broward County Jail after their arrest, Friday night.
“We all have the right to get sick if we want to get sick, just like if you decide to go out during flu season,” says Gilbert.
Police say Carnivale was first arrested for allowing his clients to work out without wearing a face covering.
He defended his decision after his second arrest, saying that the face masks restricts their breathing.
“The more we seem to comply with these mandates, the more bizarre, the more intrusive these mandates seem to have gotten,” according to Carnivale. “We know cases are up, we understand that, but at the same time, exercise, nutrition, hydration — these are things that aren’t really being discussed.”
“We all have our own rights, and we can sit here and argue and go back and forth, but at the end of the day, we’re just looking to stand up for human rights,” she says.
Carnivale goes on to say, “We played ball. We closed our business in the name of health. We opened our business again with new policies, new procedures, all in the name of health.”
“It kills me to be closed for our membership base, and this is just something we can do for them,” he explains.
Broward County Mayor Dale Holness says he understands those concerns, but everyone has to follow the rules.
Plantation Police is now guarding the gym.
Gilbert said they plan to reopen the center. When asked whether or not they will allow clients to exercise without masks, she replied, “I have not had time to think about that.”
The earlier citation ordering Fitness 1440 to close is set to expire this Monday.
However, the latest shutdown order will require the gym to remain closed for an additional week.
CDC guidelines continue to recommend wearing a mask and social distancing as the most effective method of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Michael Carnivale owns Fitness 1440 which is now shut down for at least 96 hours and joined Bill this morning on the South Florida Morning Show.