What to Know
- A gym owner in Plantation has been arrested three times for allegedly failing to comply with Broward County's mask ordinance
- The man says his last arrest was unjustified, since he had taken the gym equipment and his patrons outside
- Broward County Mayor Holness responded by saying that if the rules aren't enforced, "the economy will suffer even more"
A gym owner in Plantation has been arrested for the third time after police said he repeatedly failed to comply with Broward County's public health guidelines for limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
"It’s not a possibility to strictly enforce facial coverings while exercising," said 31-year-old Michael Carnevale. “You want me to wear a mask, I’ll do that. Whatever you want me to do. Just don’t make me bully my community into putting one on, please.”
Carnevale has gone to jail three times for allegedly failing to enforce mask-wearing in his gym, Fitness 1440. This week, he was arrested on Thursday, bonded out, and then was re-arrested on Friday, along with his wife Jillian. Fitness 1440 has also been shut down for 96 hours.
Carnevale was initially taken into custody in July after receiving two warnings and citations for allegedly refusing to require masks in his gym.
On Friday, he said his arrest was unjustified, since no one was inside the facility and all the workout equipment had been moved outside for patrons to use in the parking lot.
“Our doors are closed. We pulled our equipment out into the parking lot. It’s all good intentions here," Carnevale said. "We just want to make sure that south Florida has the opportunity to get fit."
The people who were using the gym equipment outside were not seen wearing masks by NBC 6.
“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," Carnevale said. "Those of us in the fitness industry understand that’s not safe. This is something we can’t subscribe to anymore.”
Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said that if the regulations weren't enforced, "it means that we’re gonna have an extended period of time where we are not fully operational and the economy will suffer even more. We certainly are concerned about people earning a living and we don’t want to close businesses but I think this generally is a little bit defiant in his behavior.”
Records show that Carnevale filed a lawsuit on July 26th against Broward County for injunctive relief, saying his business has been negatively impacted by county emergency orders.
CDC guidelines still recommend wearing a mask and social distancing as the most effective method of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In cases in which making a mask causes difficulty breathing for those doing strenuous exercise, the CDC recommends "conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others."