HERKIMER, N.Y. -- Jason Crippen owns Revamp Fitness in Herkimer. He also works as a police officer for the Herkimer Police Department. Like all gyms across the area, Revamp Fitness has been closed for the last two months. Now Crippen is saying it has been long enough.
"We've done everything we've been asked to do, we've been closed from the beginning. We didn't buck the system from the beginning. We are not minimizing this. We believe that the health and safety of everybody is important but we also believe people's mental health and physical health is important as well," said Crippen.
Crippen announced on his gym's Facebook page that he will be reopening his gym on May 11th despite the restrictions that are in place. Crippen said that he would reopen with strict social distancing and cleaning guidelines for those in the gym. Under current state restrictions, he would be opening his gym illegally. Herkimer County Chairman Vince Bono said even though the actions, if they're taken, would be illegal, he understands Crippen's position.
"The county certainly understands its a tough situation. It's a new gym he has bills to pay like everybody else. It's just tough to do social distancing in a gym. But you know I'm not saying it can't be done," said Bono.
Bono said that if Crippen does open the gym, the Herkimer County Sheriff's Department will be the first agency to tell Crippen he cant be open. Herkimer County Sheriff Scott Scherer said even though Crippen is a police officer, he will be treated like everyone else. If Crippen refuses to close, his current employer the Herkimer Police Department would be put in charge of enforcement. Crippen said that his employment with the police department has nothing to do with his decision to reopen.
"When I'm working on my business and making decisions to open my business, working for the police department or my primary source of income has nothing to do with my decisions to open my business," said Crippen.
NEWSChannel 2 did reach out to Herkimer Police Chief Michael Jory. He declined to comment on the story stating that it may result in a personnel issue.