London gym owner refusing to shut during lockdown clashes with police officer on his premises


A London gym owner who is risking arrest and a £10,000 fine for refusing to close during lockdown clashed with 30 police officers today who stopped his lycra-clad customers from exercising.

Andreas Michli has vowed to flout the Government’s Covid lockdown rules and remain open despite gyms all over the country being told to close.

In a rallying cry on Facebook, the 34-year-old who runs Zone Gym, in Wood Green, North London, told his members: ‘We are not closing!’.

He said: ‘We are staying open because it’s the right thing to do and we need the message to get out there to the public.

‘The police have asked us to close but we are going to do right by our members even if the legislation says different. We are keeping people healthy.

‘I am flabbergasted gyms are being forced to close. Gyms have some of the lowest infection rates of business sectors.

The gym owner has been clashing with 30 police officers today who stopped his lycra-clad customers from exercising Zone Gym, in Wood Green, North London

Andreas Michli (pictured) has vowed to flout the Government's Covid lockdown rules and remain open despite gyms all over the country being told to close

Andreas Michli (pictured) has vowed to flout the Government’s Covid lockdown rules and remain open despite gyms all over the country being told to close

Officers first descended on the Zone Gym in Wood Green, North London, on Tuesday evening when there were 30 people inside

‘The police came first last night at about 6pm when there were 30 people inside.

‘Then they returned again at around 8.30am when about seven people were already inside.

‘This is not about the police, and we understand they have a job to do.

‘It’s about people at the very top of government making the wrong decisions.

‘Closing gyms is the worst decision I’ve encountered in my life.

‘The benefits of keeping gyms open completely outweighs any reasons that exist to close them.

‘You improve your immune system by going to the gym which means it makes no sense to close them.’ 

Gym goers were still turning up today

Mr Michli says he is flabbergasted gyms are being forced to close. Gyms have some of the lowest infection rates of business sectors

More than a dozen members were still inside working out at 11.50am as Mr Michli sent out fresh messages on social media urging people back to the premises

More than a dozen members were still inside working out at 11.50am as Mr Michli sent out fresh messages on social media urging people back to the premises

Mr Michli had an angry exchange with police officers as they arrived at the premises to stop people from entering the car park

Mr Michli had an angry exchange with police officers as they arrived at the premises to stop people from entering the car park

‘It’s about people at the very top of government making the wrong decisions.

‘Closing gyms is the worst decision I’ve encountered in my life.

‘The benefits of keeping gyms open completely outweighs any reasons that exist to close them.

‘You improve your immune system by going to the gym which means it makes no sense to close them.’

Mr Michli says police shut him down last night, but he simply reopened again after they left – and said he would keep his gym open 24 hours a day until the end of lockdown. 

Mr Michli (pictured) says police shut him down last night, but he simply reopened again after they left ¿ and said he would keep his gym open 24 hours a day until the end of lockdown

Mr Michli (pictured) says police shut him down last night, but he simply reopened again after they left – and said he would keep his gym open 24 hours a day until the end of lockdown

Mr Michli (pictured) has vowed to flout the Government's Covid lockdown rules and remain open despite gyms all over the country being told to close

Mr Michli (pictured) has vowed to flout the Government’s Covid lockdown rules and remain open despite gyms all over the country being told to close

The businessman even boasted that he was selling 150 day passes a day as well as remaining open for his 1,200 existing members.

Mr Michli had an angry exchange with police officers as they arrived at the premises to stop people from entering the car park.

Gym users unable to gain access shouted insults at police – and were joined by more than 100 passers-by at the gates.

One yelled at officers: ‘You’re behaving like Nazis. You should be ashamed of yourselves.’

Among those turned away by police was Deniz Coy, 40, from Enfield, North London, who said: ‘I got here just as the shutters were coming down.

Gym users unable to gain access shouted insults at police - and were joined by more than 100 passers-by at the gates

Gym users unable to gain access shouted insults at police – and were joined by more than 100 passers-by at the gates 

‘As far as I can see no one is following lockdown rules anyway. The streets are full of people. The parks are full.

‘I suffer from depression and the gym is my only chance of getting out and doing something.

‘That gym is probably one of the safest places there is in the country right now.

‘Gyms are helping people. How can you justify closing them?’

More than a dozen members were still working out inside the Zone Gym, Wood Green, North London as police tried to strop others entering

More than a dozen members were still working out inside the Zone Gym, Wood Green, North London as police tried to strop others entering

By 11am the gym had opened its shutters again with staff playing a cat and mouse game with police trying to stop people entering the car park.

More than a dozen members were still inside working out at 11.50am as Mr Michli sent out fresh messages on social media urging people back to the premises.

The showdown is the latest evidence of a tide of civil disobedience sweeping the UK in the wake of the latest lockdown measures.  

Enforcement officers from Haringey Council arrived at lunch to serve legal papers warning they would force entry to the premises on Thursday in an effort to secure its closure.

A letter said the Council was investigating whether the gym had breached the Public Health Act 1984 and the Health Protection Regulations 2020.

‘Please note that in exercising out power of entry we may bring with us such persons as we deem necessary.

Clashes: Mr Michli said he would keep his gym open 24 hours a day until the end of lockdown.

Clashes: Mr Michli said he would keep his gym open 24 hours a day until the end of lockdown.

‘I should also make you aware that if during the visit you are found to be non compliant with the regulations, the Service will also consider a prosecution.

‘Failure to allow entry will be considered obstruction which is also an offence for which you could be liable to fines of up to £500 on conviction.’

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: ‘Police have attended Zone Gym in Coburg Road, N22, on a number of occasions in the past week to support council officers who are engaging with the business owners in relation to the enforcement of Covid regulations.’  

Last week students at the University of Manchester tore down covid security barriers separating blocks of halls.

Meanwhile footage of illegal raves continues to emerge from venues around the country. 

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