Police arrest gym owner on suspicion of breaching COVID lockdown regulations, council issues venue with prohibition notice

Essex Police have arrested a gym owner in Harlow on suspicion of breaching coronavirus legislation.

Ten fixed penalty notice tickets were also issued to people in the Ripped Gym in Wych Elm, Harlow.

Essex Police said yesterday (5 November) officers had been made aware of social media posts advertising that the gym would be remaining open against the law.

They attended to speak to the owner and customers and found the gym open.

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The police force said officers attempted to engage with the owner, but claimed she refused to give them details in order for them to issue a fixed penalty notice.

She was arrested under The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.

Harlow Council has issued a prohibition notice on the premises requiring the premises to close.

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.”

She added: “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.” 

Cllr Mark Ingall, leader of Harlow Council, said: “In recent days we have been made aware of Ripped Gym’s intention to still operate beyond the new national restrictions.  

“Contact was made with the gym to make them aware of the government restrictions and what this would mean. We visited the gym this morning to ask them to close.

“We have taken what steps we can to help the business follow the legislation.

“However after this morning’s events we have had no choice but to issue a prohibition notice this afternoon.”

Cllr Ingall added: “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.”

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