This Morning’s Doctor Chris has thrown support behind gym owner Nick Whitcombe – who has defied the new coronavirus restrictions which have forced gyms to close in Liverpool.
Gyms have been forced to close in Liverpool City Region after the area was placed in the “very high” category under the new three-tier lockdown system.
This week Nick was fined £1,000 after a member of the public called the police when they saw the business was still open.
Armed officers warned Nick – owner of Body Tech Fitness, in Moreton, Wirral – that he needed to shut his doors but he refused.
A video of the incident has been circulating on social media and Nick was invited onto Friday’s This Morning to talk about not backing down.
After Nick told what happened, TV medical professional Dr Chris joined the chat and shared that he is pleased that Nick is “bringing public attention” to the issue of gyms not being financially supported by government.
However, the doctor added that the business owner is “acting irresponsible” – from a medical point of view.
Sharing his views with hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, Chris said: “From a medical standpoint nick is acting irresponsible but I support you in what you are doing as your bringing public attention to this.”
He later added that it should be noted that “gyms tend to be large and airy” which could mean they are “a safer covid arena.”
Chris continued: “How long is this going to last? You should be given adequate financial support.
“If we are going to close places down and have a more severe lockdown – people whose lives depend on it need financial support!”
Baffled by the rules, he said: “It is so complicated I cannot get my head around tier one, two and three, keep it simple!”
Police confirmed to the Liverpool Echo that officers were called to Body Tech Fitness on Pasture Road, Moreton at around 8.35am on Wednesday, by a member of the public who was concerned that the gym had opened in contravention of the new coronavirus legislation.
Officers visited the premises and warned the owner to close.
Upon returning later in the day, the gym remained open and a fixed penalty notice was issued ordering the owner to pay a £1,000 fine, and he was ordered to close immediately.
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.
“The new restrictions have been brought in to try to achieve that, and if we don’t act decisively and collaboratively, the impact could be harder and last even longer.
“We will therefore continue to encourage members of the public and businesses to adhere to the guidance, explain why they should and – as in this case – use enforcement where there are clear breaches of legislation.”