WATCH: Police issue fine to Liverpool gym owner for refusing to close

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Watch: Gym closed by officers as Liverpool enters Tier 3 restrictions

A Merseyside gym which stayed open despite new coronavirus rules forcing it to shut has been fined by police.

A video shows officers at Body Tech Fitness, in Moretan, Wirral, which police visited twice on Wednesday as the area was placed into the highest level of restrictions.

It led to a £1,000 fine and a swell of support for the business in an online crowdfunder, as a major fitness chain considers legal action about the gym restriction and a petition in support of gyms reached six figure support.

The Tier 3 measures force gyms and bars to close, but Body Tech Fitness owner Nick Whitcombe said on Instagram that the gym would not shut.

Whitcombe urged for gyms to stay open for people's health. (Instagram/nickcapo_)
Whitcombe urged for gyms to stay open for people's health. (Instagram/nickcapo_)
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“We are not staying open for financial gain but more for our members mental and physical wellbeing,” he said.

“Gyms should be supported in fighting against COVID obesity, mental health and many other conditions and diseases.”

Read more: Northern MP scorns London media 'who have only just discovered' lockdown rules

In a clip on his page, he urged people to “keep fighting the good fight – gyms need to stay open”.

A member of the public reported the gym was open and officers went out on Wednesday morning to order it to shut.

When they returned and found it was still open, the owner was given a £1,000 fine.

Police are seen in the video as officers ordered the gym to shut. (Instagram/nickcapo_)
Police are seen in the video as officers ordered the gym to shut. (Instagram/nickcapo_)
Gym members work out on socially-distanced fitness machines at the new PureGym Local in Kirkcaldy, Fife. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
PureGym said it is considering legal action over gym closures. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

A Gofundme fundraiser has raised more than £37,000 to pay for any legal costs to support the area’s gyms.

Merseyside’s Chief Superintendent Claire Richards said: “We understand that people are frustrated with the current situation and for a number of local businesses, including the fitness and leisure industry, this will be particularly hard.

“It’s not that long ago that gyms reopened their doors after lockdown and they did so after making huge changes to the way they work for the safety and protection of their customers.

“But while this lockdown does present huge challenges, the focus of us all should now be on preventing the spread of the virus and getting us back to normality as safely and as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, PureGym is considering legal action about the decision to close fitness centres in Liverpool, while a petition calling on gyms to stay open has been signed by more than 131,000 people.

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