A gym in Bedford, which defied national lockdown guidelines and remained open, has been visited by Bedfordshire Police today (Thursday).
Following reports that Gainz Gym on Elms Farm Industrial Estate was open for business and in breach of the current Covid-19 (coronavirus) regulations, officers attended the site.
Speaking to the Bedford Independent, Alex Lowndes, the owner of Gainz Gym which has facilities in St Neots and Bedford, said, “The police arrived in great numbers, but they were all friendly enough.
“Two environmental health officers from the council issued the prohibition notice. They were obviously in such a hurry to issue it that the notice said that ‘you can remain open’. Obviously we’re not going to run with that, but it does show how they operate.”
In a statement, Bedfordshire Police said, “Officers attended Gainz Fitness and Strength and worked with Bedford Borough Council to serve the owner with a prohibition notice.
“Three people have been handed fines.”
Alex has made no secret of his decision to remain open despite government guidelines.
He had taken to social media to lay out his intention to defy the legal requirement for gyms to close – along with non-essential shops, hairdressers, barbershops, pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants.
There have been 186 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bedford Borough in the last seven days, and the number of deaths at Bedford Hospital has risen by two to 138.
Beds Police said, “We understand that exercising is a priority for a lot of people, but we would urge you to find an alternative, such as a home workout or out in the open air.
“We all need to play our part in stopping the spread of coronavirus and unfortunately this means that businesses, such as gyms, need to close.
“If you are planning to come to Gainz Gym, please don’t as you will be at risk of being fined.”
Three people who had attended the gym today were handed fixed penalty notices of up to £200.
A Borough Council Spokesperson said, “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.”
A protest, planned to take place in Bedford Park tomorrow (Friday) to object to the new lockdown legislation, has been cancelled.
Bedfordshire Police have warned that anyone attending the event could face a £200 fine.