NY Supreme Court judge says gym can open at 100% capacity despite governor’s orders


ORCHARD PARK, NY – A recent oral ruling from a New York Supreme Court judge has granted an Orchard Park gym the go-ahead to operate at 100% capacity.

The gym owner is calling the decision a “huge win”. 

Honorable Paul B. Wojtaszek granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the gym Athletes Unleashed on December 23rd, but also conveyed that this ruling wasn’t meant to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic either. 

While the state Supreme Court judge noted that his ruling wasn’t meant to diminish the seriousness of COVID-19, he said that his ruling was meant to respect a “right to normalcy” for citizens and business owners. 

Athletes Unleashed owner Robbie Dinero is both stoked and thinks this could set the tone for other gym owners within the state: 

“This is a huge win…The fact that the precedent has been set that we can open at full capacity, so long as we abide by the safety guidelines and protocols that do work, that’s a huge win.”

The reason this is being coined as a “huge win” is because gyms, per the order enacted by Governor Cuomo in relation to their operations during the pandemic, were only allowed to operate at 25% capacity. 

Dinero and his attorney, Paul Cambria, stated that the gym will still observe precautionary measures such as social distancing and using face coverings. 

However, the fact that Dinero can now freely allow his gym to operate as normal is what has the business owner elated: 

“The opportunity to fill our gym to its rightful capacity is huge. We’re able to bring more people into the fold, we’re getting back to normal business operations, which is what anybody wants.”

The gym owner had brought the lawsuit challenging the mandates instilled by Governor Cuomo on November 30th, alleging that the governor had overstepped his authority during the pandemic when creating such mandates akin to fractional capacity restrictions. 

While New York State hasn’t made any official comments on the ruling in favor of Athletes Unleashed, Senior Advisor to Governor Cuomo Rich Azzopardi commented on the unveiled lawsuit on November 30th, calling it “crackpot logic”:

“We get sued virtually every day for virtually every action taken during this pandemic and based on what you laid out this entire argument is based on crackpot logic. We routinely extend executive orders as needed. That’s not unique to the pandemic.”

What Dinero hopes to see is that other business owners review the arguments made in his lawsuit and then bring those very same arguments into court to get their businesses back open: 

“I think our win is going to embolden other businesses to take the same steps, to take it to court, to punch back, and to win their freedoms back, and that’s what it’s going to take. Other businesses need to step up.”

If the gym Athletes Unleashed sounds familiar, that’s because the gym made waves and headlines back in November when a video went viral of local business owners shouting out deputies and a health inspector who tried to shut the place down. 

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We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on that viral video. Here’s the background on what eventually led up to this December court case win. 


BUFFALO, NY – Business owners who are fed up with Democratic New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, and his executive orders on the lockdowns, are kicking law enforcement and health inspectors out of their businesses for fear of being shut down.

Roughly 50 different business owners gathered inside Athletes Unleashed, a closed gym on California Road, to protest the lock downs and other restrictions imposed by Cuomo over COVID-19. Local law enforcement, three deputies and a health inspector, showed up at the gym.

A video was posted on social media documenting the response they received when they walked into the building. It was not a warm welcome. Although there were no arrests and no citations issued, the people pushed the deputies and the health inspector out the door. The business owners told law enforcement they were only allowed back inside with a search warrant.

The owner of the business, Robby Dinero, said:

“It absolutely was a protest – inside my building.”

The video shows that gym owners were upset, and accused the officials of trespassing. The group can be heard yelling at them:

“Get out!  Get out!”

To avoid a confrontation, the members of law enforcement and the health inspector left the property.  

This incident shows the level of frustration citizens and business owners have when it comes to the extended lockdowns that have been prevalent in New York over the past nine months. 

Their frustration has only worsened as school districts were shut down along with many other businesses in Erie County.

Cuomo has ordered the continued lockdowns of business which he has deemed as high-risk for COVID-19 contamination. These businesses include gyms, barbershops, and hair salons.

Indoor dining has also been banned in any restaurant or bar after 10pm each night.  

Shutdowns in the state, along with restrictions on how many people residents can have in their homes for Thanksgiving, are starting to wear on New Yorker’s nerves. Frustration has launched them to plan for a protest against Cuomo’s new restrictions on November 22nd.

This protest is set to take place in Buffalo and, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, it is going to be loud. He said that organizers have circulated flyers calling for people to drive through his neighborhood honking horns or to march the streets while playing drums, shouting on bullhorns, or banging on pots and pans.

Some of the event organizers are asking people to produce photographs of the elderly “who have been locked in internment camps.”  They also want participants to dress “as slaves or anything else creative.”

Poloncarz let people know that neither he nor Cuomo will change their minds. 

He said:

“If the people behind this planned protest think this will weaken our resolve to protect the public from the Coronavirus they are wrong.” 

In a tweet, he wrote:

“I am aware of a loud protest planned for tomorrow (11/22) at 9:30 am to target my house and my immediate neighborhood. I am posting this now so my neighbors are aware.

“Please read my statement on this and their despicable reference to “internment camps” and “dress up as slaves.”

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