Defiant Gym Staying Open Despite Being Fined Almost $10K Per Day


A Washington State small business owner has racked up tens of thousands of dollars worth of fines for refusing to abide by the state’s draconian lockdown orders.

The state is levying big penalties for some businesses which refuse to close after Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a new round of lockdowns last month. Gyms and other fitness facilities are among those being the hardest hit.

Michael Knick, the owner and operator of Graham’s Fitness in the western part of the state, isn’t closing down, despite the hefty price for doing business in a Democratic-run state amid the coronavirus pandemic. In Knick’s case, though, he’s caught in somewhat of a catch-22.

If Knick closes down his gym and becomes a loyal subject of government, he says he will go under. Meanwhile, the man is being hit daily with outrageous fines.

Knick admitted he could not pay the outlandish fines during an interview with Tacoma’s The News Tribune.

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“They can fine me whatever they want,” the man told the newspaper in an interview last Friday.

“I don’t have it.”

As of last Friday, Knick had become a target of Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries. As of the time of his interview with the local media, he’d been issued fines totaling $77,112 from daily citations of $9,639, simply for keeping his doors open.

That’s all thanks to Inslee’s so-called Safe Start mandate, which took effect on Nov. 16. Per rules on the governor’s website, “All indoor fitness and training facilities are closed at this time.”

Do you think more people should defy lockdown orders?

Naturally, the people who write and issue orders such as Inslee’s continue to draw paychecks. What happens to Graham’s Fitness, or other businesses, is of little consequence to those who are decimating communities by forcing businesses to close.

But many people across the country have had enough of the nonscientific and inhumane lockdowns. There’s a bit of inspiration to be taken from Knick’s decision to stand against tyranny.

Knick is among those whose livelihoods are on the line, and he has vowed to stay open.

To the chagrin of Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries, people in Graham are still welcome to frequent Knick’s business to stay in shape, boost their immune systems and to presumably stave off the negative mental health effects of isolation — many of the things one is advised to do to be ready to fight off an infection, such as the coronavirus.

Apparently only when everyone in Washington State is financially destitute, immunocompromised, depressed and with a few extra pounds can they emerge ready to take on a COVID infection.

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Isn’t government smart?

Knick speculated when speaking with The News Tribune that he is potentially being targeted after he went to a conservative think tank called the Freedom Foundation for help with keeping his business open. The man has, according to the paper, received more fines than anyone else in the state.

“I’m just a little guy trying to survive here, getting smashed by [the] non-constitutional respecting government,” he said. “They’re not gonna give 100% of small businesses fines … But, if there’s only one or two of us that stick our neck out there, they’re gonna try and make examples out of us.”

Tim Church, with the Department of Labor & Industries, told the outlet that Knick was fined because had been putting his employees “at risk” by staying open and letting them work. Knick responded by paying those employees to stay home on Friday, presumably putting an end to those fines.

Knick seems to possess a great deal of business sense. In addition to paying his 15 employees to not come to work so as to avoid citations, he has a backup plan for staying afloat, should his current business go belly up.

“I guess I’ll just have to go bankrupt and open up as another LLC and play the game,” Knick said in response to a scenario where the state’s attorney general’s office, or Inslee, take drastic measures to shut him down.

History has shown us that there can be a high price to pay for standing up against tyranny. While Knick hasn’t been tarred and feathered by his state’s Democrats yet, he’s at least willing to stand up to them. That’s a start and a roadmap for all of those seeking a reprieve from a tyrannical government.

As Knick stated, Washington State Democrats can’t fine everyone.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.