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Gym owner posts video of a dozen police officers arresting her for staying open in lockdown

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Footage shows the moment a gym owner whose business stayed open during the new coronavirus lockdown is arrested.

Essex Police said officers became aware via social media posts that The Ripped Gym, in Wych Elm, Harlow, was open despite gyms being told to shut.

They arrived on 5 November, the first day of England’s new lockdown, to speak to the owner and customers.

In the video, published to Ripped Gym’s Instagram, an officer says the police intend to issue a fine to the manager and people using the gym.

The Ripped Gym, pictured in July 2018. (Google Maps)
The Ripped Gym, pictured in July 2018. (Google Maps)

Police did not name the owner but said she refused to give them details to issue a fine and she was arrested under the coronavirus regulations.

Ten fines were given to people using the gym and Harlow Council has ordered it to shut.

Essex Police’s district commander, Chief Inspector Natalia Ross, said: “We will not tolerate those who commit clear and blatant breaches of the legislation that has been put in place to keep people safe.

“Many of our local businesses have made sacrifices to keep their customers safe and have been working really hard to adjust how they work and comply with current legislation.

“We’ve taken every opportunity to engage with residents and local businesses to explain the regulations and encourage people to do the right thing.

“Enforcement is always a last resort but sadly there are times where we have had to take robust action to keep people safe.”

Read more: Three relatives of same family die of COVID in same week

Councillor Mark Ingall, leader of Harlow Council, said: “We have a responsibility for enforcing COVID regulations on business premises.

“We simply can’t stand by and allow any business to operate when it cannot do so by law.

“It is especially not fair on the large majority of Harlow businesses which have been complying with the legislation throughout the pandemic to keep people safe.”

Last month, police fined a gym owner in Merseyside who stayed open despite local restrictions, and he urged people to campaign to keep fitness centres open.

Watch: The exceptions which let you leave your home during lockdown