Gym owner facing huge fine for refusing to close during lockdown

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Gym owner facing huge fine for refusing to close during lockdown

A north London gym owner faces a £ 67,000 fine from his local council after refusing to close during the second national lockdown.

Andreas Michli, 34, said he permanently closed his Zone Gym in Wood Green on Wednesday after police prevented customers from entering his premises.

The Haringey Council, which has repeatedly fined him, is now trying to get a closure order through the courts he wants to enforce.

Mr Michli told the PA news agency: “There were many reasons why I didn’t close.

“I couldn’t find any reason not to keep it open unless there were laws.

“It seemed right to act socially, morally and scientifically.”

Mr Michli said he was delaying his decision on when the premises should reopen until the outcome of the trial next week.

In addition to the £ 67,000 fine he faces, the local authority is seeking an additional £ 7,500 for court costs, Michli alleged.

Gyms are on the list of venues to be closed under the national Covid-19 lockdown restrictions that went into effect in England on November 5th.

Michli, who has owned his gym for five years, said he closed the premises on Wednesday evening after police blocked people’s entry.

He said, “The police were manned at the gates and changed shifts every two hours.

“It was a little pointless to keep the gym open when it was basically empty.

“A couple of people managed to climb over walls and move through little gaps to get in, but it was pretty empty.”

Haringey council chairman Joseph Ejiofor said the local authority had tried several times to “communicate” with Mr Michli, who “unfortunately decided to stay open despite repeated warnings”.

He said, “As a result, we had no choice but to issue firm criminal charges and we received a closure notice.”

Mr Ejiofor said while the lockdown was an “extremely difficult time” for local businesses, the “law is the law and it applies to everyone”.

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