Letter: Closing gyms was excessive government overreach

Posted 12/9/20

Last week, Gov. Gina Raimondo petitioned the Rhode Island Superior Court and obtained a temporary restraining order closing two Maxx Fitness Clubs in Lincoln and Warren, and in the case of the Warren …

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Letter: Closing gyms was excessive government overreach

Posted

Last week, Gov. Gina Raimondo petitioned the Rhode Island Superior Court and obtained a temporary restraining order closing two Maxx Fitness Clubs in Lincoln and Warren, and in the case of the Warren location, she affected the lives of numerous East Bay residents, who are members of Maxx Fitness. As a longtime member of the club, I can state with firsthand experience, the club adheres to every health related precaution to ensure the safety of its members, including strict mask-wearing guidelines, positioning of equipment to ensure social distancing, and fastidious cleaning protocols.

These rules are so strict, I feel much safer at the gym than I do in any grocery store, big box store, or even my home.

During the course of this pandemic, I have made the personal choice to regularly violate Gina’s executive orders on quarantining after out of state travel, hosting and attending social gatherings above her legal limit, and other pandemic related executive orders which I find to be arbitrary and capricious. I’m not oblivious to the existence of the virus and its severity, but I feel it is not the job of the government to legislate morality, and as an adult, it is my right to take precautions which I feel are most reasonable for myself and my family, and not those mandated by an overzealous elected official.

While I have supported Gina at the ballot box during the entirety of her political career, and will continue to do so in the future, I also feel that reasonable minds can sometimes disagree, and her closing of gyms, fitness centers, and indoor recreation facilities has crossed over the line from good public policy to excessive government overreach.

While I hope the owner of Maxx Fitness Clubs continues to use every legal avenue available to fight this unfair executive order, one need look no further than nearby Staten Island to see where a bar owner there continued to fight against an unfair government shutdown order to the point where he was forcefully arrested and a near riot broke out after hundreds of people gathered outside his bar to protest his closing and arrest, and unfortunately with Gina’s heavy handed tactics, the Staten Island incident may be a precursor to where Rhode Island is heading.

It’s prudent and acceptable to take some precautions during this pandemic, but when the cure becomes more harmful than the disease, it’s time for Gina to take a step back and re-think some of these unreasonable executive orders, before she ends up doing more harm than good.

Mike Proto
Bristol

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.