After lockdown ends on the 2nd of December, England will return to a three-tier system, albeit a slightly toughened one.
It’s still to be revealed which areas will fall under which tier, but even those with the toughest restrictions will be allowed to reopen gyms (along with hairdressers and non-essential retail). The ban on playing outdoor sports will also be lifted, so it’s good news all round for sporty people. That said, if you find yourself in a Tier 3 area, you will, sadly, not be able to go to the pub.
Eduardo Carriello, director of a Brazilian jiu-jitsu club in London, has decided to keep his establishment open, despite six separate visits from the police. He told The NYT: “I have no problem being arrested. I am not committing a crime, I’m just exercising my rights… If they extend this lockdown we are going to have a civil war.”
Many gym owners who’ve decided to stay open argue they are doing it out of principle, and for the health of their members, rather than for private profit. Some gyms have managed to escape being fined by police or local authorities, but others have not been so lucky.
One gym owner in north London was taken to court and fined £73,000, after posting videos on Instagram stating his intention to defy the rules, and then remaining open. Michelle Meade-Wyatt, owner of Ripped Gym in Harlow, London, was filmed being arrested after making a point of defying the rules.
Gyms, according to one piece of government research, rank below secondary schools, pubs, restaurants and supermarkets as sites of infections. However, they rank higher than care homes, universities and non-essential retail. That said, individual gyms differ in the quality of space and ventilation, so it’s hard to make a general statement about how safe or otherwise they are.
Either way, perhaps the news that gyms will be opening soon will encourage some gym owners to stop waging their lonely battles against lockdown.