Lockdown starts with gym owner defiance and shop closures

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The second national lockdown began with an act of defiance.

A gym in Bedford that vowed to stay open despite us entering lockdown, has been closed by police and council officials. 

Gainz Gym is normally open 24 hours, but its bid to defy the regulations lasted until around lunchtime before the government's lockdown legislation was brought to bear. 

Officers emptied the place out, in the face of the owner's vows that it would remain open.

I feel that we are standing for gyms across the country and there are other gyms taking the same standpoint as us, it doesn’t mean that the ones that are closed aren’t taking the same view we’re all fighting it together, even after today the fight goes on, there is a moral obligation to keep gyms open during the health pandemic when health both physical and mental should be a priority.

Alex Lowndes, owner Gainz Gym
Police arrive at Gainz Gym

Some of those who were inside were given fines, Alex was ordered to close by environmental health officers. 

Bedford Borough Council issued the following statement:

"With COVID-19 related admissions to Bedford Hospital rising significantly in the past fortnight our focus must be on driving the infection rate down, protecting the NHS and saving lives. This will be extremely tough for all but we must work together to succeed.

“Exercise is important in keeping us all fit and healthy and for its impact on mental health, and we will be encouraging everyone to keep active in ways that are in-line with the new national regulations for this four-week period. 

“We know that this second lockdown will be challenging for all businesses that are being asked to close, and alongside them we are calling on the government to provide the financial support to help them get through it.

However businesses and individuals cannot be permitted to break the law that is in place to keep us all safe. In partnership with the Police, we will take any appropriate action required to ensure that these regulations are followed and the hard work and sacrifices made by the majority of people are successful in reducing the infection rate, saving lives and protecting the NHS.”

Bedford Borough Council

Meanwhile a gym owner in Essex has been arrested on suspicion of breaching coronavirus legislation.

Officers were made aware of social media posts advertising The Ripped Gym in Wych Elm, Harlow, would be remaining open against the law. The owner was arrested after she refused to give them details in order for them to issue a fixed penalty notice.

Ten fixed penalty notice tickets were issued to people in the gym.District commander Chief Inspector Natalia Ross said:

We will not tolerate those who commit clear and blatant breaches of the legislation that has been put in place to keep people safe.

Chief Inspector Natalia Ross

“Many of our local businesses have made sacrifices to keep their customers safe and have been working really hard to adjust how they work and comply with current legislation.“Enforcement is always a last resort but sadly there are times where we have had to take robust action to keep people safe."It comes as other businesses across the region did close for the start of the four week lockdown.

  • Watch Stuart Leithes' report below