‘Willing to Lose My Business for What I Believe In’: UK Gym Owner ARRESTED & Patrons Fined Hours Into Second COVID-19 Lockdown
November 5, 2020
Video shot outside the Ripped Gym in Wych Elm on Thursday shows dozens of Essex Police officers and several police cars on the scene as an officer demands that a woman believed to be the owner accept a £1,000 fine for breaching the newly implemented lockdown.
Gym owner in Harlow, Essex arrested this morning for opening their business.
— Newton Peter Clarke 💎 #KBF 🇬🇧 (@NewtonClarkeUK) November 5, 2020
The woman refuses to provide her name or other ID details to the cops, claiming to be protected “under common law,” and is then arrested for not cooperating. Essex Police confirmed on Thursday they had arrested “a gym owner in Harlow” on “suspicion of breaching coronavirus legislation,” also revealing they’d filed a prohibition notice requiring her to close the business indefinitely.
The police’s statement claimed they’d been tipped off about “social media posts” advertising that the gym would remain open. The force also encouraged the public to continue turning people in for breaching restrictions, but carefully, advising them to “check” to ensure they aren’t “mis-reading a situation” before contacting police.
Ten “fixed penalty notice tickets” were also issued to gym members who were exercising when officers showed up to question the owner, the police statement confirmed. Police were seen standing guard over the entrances and exits to Ripped Gym after the owner had been taken away and the patrons asked to leave.
The gym’s owner, identified only as Michelle by local media, vowed earlier on Thursday morning that her gym would remain open in spite of the strict second lockdown in an interview with neighborhood outlet Your Harlow, explaining that “we deem ourselves essential for our members and their mental health.” She accused the UK government of exaggerating Covid-19 numbers to justify the four-week lockdown, which has forced gyms – deemed a “non-essential business” – to close, along with all other sports facilities.
While she had followed government orders and shut down her gym in March, even though “we struggled and we lost a lot of members,” she now says she feels “cheated” and “lied to.”
“I’m willing to lose this business for what I believe in, and I believe the government’s lying,” she said, acknowledging that she did “expect a visit from the authorities.”
See also: Essex Police now guard outside Ripped Gym in Harlow
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