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North London gym forced to close after owner repeatedly flouts lockdown rules

A north London gym has been forced to close after the owner repeatedly refused to shut its doors during lockdown Haringey Council had already…

By admin , in London , at November 19, 2020 Tags: ,

A north London gym has been forced to close after the owner repeatedly refused to shut its doors during lockdown

Haringey Council had already issued Andreas Michli, 34, with £77,000 worth of fines for ignoring calls to close Zone Gym in Wood Green.

But he finally lost his battle on Tuesday when Highbury Magistrates’ Court granted the council an order to shut the business.

Gyms are included on the list of venues required to shut under England’s coronavirus restrictions, which came into force on November 5.

Mr Michli was finally forced to shut his business last week after police blocked customers from entering the premises.

“There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t close,” he explained on Saturday.

“I couldn’t actually find a reason why to not keep it open, other than there was legislation in place.

“It felt like the right thing to do socially, morally and scientifically.”

He claimed people had “managed to climb over walls and shift through little gaps to get in” while police had manned the gates outside the gym.

Mr Michli, who has owned his gym for five years, previously said he was delaying his decision on when to reopen the premises pending the outcome of the court hearing.

It is understood Mr Michli has not yet paid the £77,000 of fixed penalty notices, and he also now owes £9,000 for court costs.

Haringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor welcomed the court’s decision to issue a closure order.

He said: “I understand why the owner felt passionately about staying open, but the law is the law and it applies to everyone.

“It is not right for every other non-essential business, having had to close its doors and make a huge sacrifice, to then see another business remain open.”

He continued: “Our enforcement officers did everything in their power from the very start to communicate with the owner of Zone Gym. That included engaging, explaining and encouraging regarding the legislation that has been put in place.

“Enforcement is always our last resort but despite numerous visits to the premises, the owner refused to work with us, and we were forced to issue £77,000 of fixed penalty notices for breaches of the rules.

“Taking this matter to the courts showed that we were not prepared to risk the health of people across Haringey.”

Mr Ejiofor added: “I am pleased that the owner is now doing the right thing and has closed the gym.

“Staying as active as you can to look after your health and wellbeing is really important during this time, but it has to be done in the right way.

“I would be willing to discuss this with him in the future when all legal matters are concluded.

“Let me make this clear. The safety of our residents in Haringey will always remain our number one priority and if anyone refuses to abide by the law, we will be left with no choice but to take strong action.”