Gyms 1 - Government 0: Major win as Liverpool’s gyms get green light to reopen because restrictions weren’t working out
The city was among the first in the UK to re-enter lockdown amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the north of England, however, local gym owners remained defiant throughout.
Nick Whitcombe, owner of Bodytech Fitness in Moreton, defied the government's rules and remained open, prompting a visit from armed police who issued him with a £1,000 fine for breach of coronavirus restrictions, following an anonymous tip.Also on rt.com ‘We’ll keep fighting’: Liverpool gym owner faces off against armed police while resisting Covid-19 closure orders
He then launched an online petition which garnered over 400,000 signatures, as well as a GoFundMe page to pay any fines incurred which received over £50,000 in donations. He vowed that the money donated will go to mental health charities if the fines are overturned.
Whitcombe and other members of the fitness community lobbied local politicians, including City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Liverpool Garston MP Angela Eagle, who helped argue the case.
The campaign bore fruit on Wednesday when Rotheram announced that gyms would be allowed to reopen under Tier 3 restrictions. The mayor said that local leaders asked for the scientific evidence which might explain why they were locked down in the first place, given that gyms in Lancashire were allowed to remain open despite the area going into Tier 3 lockdown as well.
This has been a huge team effort led by @MetroMayorSteve to force a Government u-turn.Gyms & leisure/fitness centres are a big part of our physical & mental health.I’ve asked St Helens Council to get our local facilities re-opened as soon as possible! https://t.co/vZOAwHITHp— Conor McGinn MP (@ConorMcGinn) October 21, 2020
“Collectively, we have consistently requested the scientific evidence that supported the imposition of the suite of measures under Tier 3 and we pointed out the inconsistency of the approach following the announcement that Lancashire would not in fact have exactly the same package of restrictions as our city region,” Rotheram said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of 'wet' bars and pubs (ones which do not serve food) have been forced to close for a minimum of four weeks as the city undergoes the strictest lockdown measures.Also on rt.com Manchester hit with extra Covid-19 restrictions as Johnson govt accused of ‘playing poker with people's lives’
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