Victory for Liverpool gyms as Govt backs down allowing venues to re-open

Liverpool's gyms will be allowed to stay open after the government backed down despite the area being in Tier 3 lockdown.

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram said they would be allowed to re-open after he had asked for scientific evidence on why they were ordered to shut, following the announcement gyms in Lancashire would remain open.

It comes after one gym in the area defied the government's tougher local lockdown and was fined £1,000.

The facility's owner launched a petition, which received widespread public support and has been signed more than 400,000 times.

Mr Rotheram said: "Collectively, we have consistently requested the scientific evidence that supported the imposition of the suite of measures under Tier 3 and we pointed out the inconsistency of the approach following the announcement that Lancashire would not in fact have exactly the same package of restrictions as our city region.

"Talks continued until late last night and the Government have agreed with the case I put forward on behalf of city region leaders and that they would now bring us in line with other Tier 3 areas.

"This would mean soft play areas would be closed but gyms could reopen."

The changes are expected to come into play from Friday morning, when Greater Manchester goes into Tier 3.

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Nick Whitcombe, boss of Bodytech Fitness in Moreton, Wirral, defied the government's rules and stayed open, but we was slapped with a £1,000 fine after a member of the public reported the gym.

Armed officers turned up at the gym and demanded he close it.

Mr Whitcombe launched a campaign in which he vowed to stay open despite the threat of further fines and closure.

A petition, which has been signed more than 400,000 times, was launched, while a GoFundMe page, which was set to help pay any fines, topped £50,000.

Mr Whitcombe revealed the money will go to mental health charities if the fines are overturned.

Meanwhile, Comunities Secretary Robert Jenrick revealed he did not know whether gyms in Greater Manchester would be forced to close when the area enters a Tier 3 lockdown.

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