London gym owners issued £1,000 fine for flouting Covid rules

9 January 2021, 10:06

The Met Police issued a £1,000 fine to the London gym owners
The Met Police issued a £1,000 fine to the London gym owners. Picture: Met Police
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The owners of a north-east London gym have been fined for flouting coronavirus rules by staying open during the national lockdown.

Officers for the Metropolitan Police were called to the fitness centre on Stean Street in Hackney on Friday following reports that it had breached Covid-19 regulations.

After finding three people inside the gym shortly before 9:30am, police issued the owners a £1,000 fixed penalty notice (FPN).

It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" in the capital due to coronavirus spreading "out of control" and threatening to "overwhelm" hospitals.

Mr Khan told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty on Friday that in some parts of the capital, Covid infection rates are so high that one in 20 people have the virus, while London's average rate is one in 30.

He revealed that the London Ambulance Service (LAS) is now receiving between 3,000 and 4,000 more calls every day than it would on a normal busy day.

Read more: Covid fines reviewed after two women 'surrounded' by 'bonkers' police

Watch: London Mayor Sadiq Khan declares 'major incident' due to Covid spread

Met Police chief inspector Pete Shaw said: "Whilst there are certain rules around people being allowed to exercise in public under this lockdown, nowhere in the legislation does it allow people to go to gyms to work out.

"Those found to be flouting the rules, as with this instance, should expect necessary enforcement action to be taken against them.

"We are thankful that the vast majority of people continue to follow the guidance and do their part to reduce the infection rate."

City Hall said coronavirus cases in the city had exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, while there are also 35 per cent more people in hospital with Covid than at the pandemic's peak in April.

The mayor has since urged Londoners to stay indoors unless they have a good reason to leave home, adding that if they must do so then they should wear face masks.

Read more: Most Covid patients have at least one symptom six months later - study

Watch: Harrowing call sets out NHS crisis in London through eyes of one LBC caller

"On a normal busy day, the ambulance service receives 5,000 calls per day. It is now receiving between 8,000 and 9,000. So we're diverting firefighters and police officers to drive ambulances to help the ambulance service through this crisis," he told LBC.

Mr Khan continued: "The worry is this; if there continues to be an increase in the virus spreading, and we continue to have patients that need to be hospitalised, the NHS will run out of beds, not just for Covid patients, but for non-Covid too.

"To give you an idea, over the course of the last three days, on average in excess of 800 new patients have been admitted for Covid."

Elsewhere, Derbyshire Police are reviewing all Covid fines issued during the current national lockdown after its officers "surrounded" two women who were out for a walk at a remote reservoir.

The force was branded "bonkers" by the pair for their "intimidating" approach, with one officer reportedly telling them that a hot drink one of them had brought with her was not permitted as it was "classed as a picnic".

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