the gyms refusing to shut during lockdown

Alex Lowndes, owner of Gainz Fitness in Bedford, said he felt a 'moral obligation' to break the rules - Joe Giddens/PA
Alex Lowndes, owner of Gainz Fitness in Bedford, said he felt a ‘moral obligation’ to break the rules – Joe Giddens/PA
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

Businesses across the UK have refused to close their doors on the first day of the second lockdown.

Non-essential services, which currently includes gyms and hairdressers, are supposed to shut until December 2 under the new restrictions, but some have vowed not to do so.

Among them is Gainz Fitness and Strength, a gym in Bedford, which earlier this week said it would be staying open to support the health and wellbeing of its members. It is not taking on new members during the lockdown period.

In a Facebook post earlier today, the gym said: “Exercise in a gym is an offence – November 2020. It’s unbelievable but it’s true.”

The post said that the gym “won’t stop campaigning” for the sector to be recognised as essential and that it would be operating reduced opening hours.

It added: “Lockdowns are hard on mental health. If you need us to chat, pick up a coffee or your supplements we will also be offering massages during this time for rehab purposes.”

Speaking on Instagram on Wednesday, owner Alex Lowndes issued a warning to members: “What I want to highlight is that members can get fined. We are open, we are here for you, but there’s a risk.

“The rules are there whether we like them or not. We have chosen to break them here and we have a good reason, I feel a moral obligation, to do so.”

Police outside Gainz Health and Fitness in Bedford - Joe Giddens/PA
Police outside Gainz Health and Fitness in Bedford – Joe Giddens/PA

Also staying open is a personal trainer, who asked to remain anonymous, who operates from a garage in Hampshire. 

She said she and her husband would not be able to survive on the amount of financial support provided and are already struggling to meet their mortgage payments.

She told the Telegraph: “While we have stuck to all the rules and are generally keen to continue to do so, we are in a situation where we’ve had to choose keeping a roof over our heads and eating versus closing in line with the guidelines.

“I believe that if put in the same situation most people would do the same.”

Keith Brook and Joe Davies who run A-Star Muscle and Fitness in Wakefield said they were staying open as they “massively believe we are part of the solution” to the fight against Covid-19, the Wakefield Express reported.

In a video posted on Facebook on Wednesday, Mr Davies said: “We believe what we are doing is right. We don’t know what the repercussions will be, but we’re going to find out.

“If we have to close our doors at 6.05am tomorrow, then at least we have done something. We will keep the doors open as long as we can, and take as many fines as we can.”

Over the past few days there have been reports of several other businesses planning to stay open, including gyms in Wakefield and Bury, a salon in Liverpool and a hairdressers in Kent.

Businesses which defy the rules could be fined up to £10,000 under the new restrictions. Police have warned that such businesses should expect to face enforcement.

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