Rugeley gym owner fined for opening during lockdown

The owner of a gym in Rugeley has been prosecuted for illegally remaining open during the first Covid-19 lockdown, despite having been previously warned to close.

Garth’s Gym Future Bodies on Power Station Road in Rugeley
Garth’s Gym Future Bodies on Power Station Road in Rugeley

On April 28 environmental health officers from Cannock Chase Council visited Garth’s Gym Future Bodies on Power Station Road in the town.

The staff had locked themselves inside and initially refused to allow the officers in. Once they gained entry, they found people at the back of the building in exercise clothing.

When asked what they were doing, one of them answered they were “working out”. The gym users were told to immediately leave, and a Prohibition Notice was then served on the owner requiring the gym to remain closed. The previous week Environmental Health Officers had warned the owner not to remain open during the lockdown.

On November 6, Garth Betteley, of Hednesford Road, in Rugeley, pleaded guilty to an offence under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court fined him £345 and ordered him to pay costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £34.

Councillor Christine Martin, health and wellbeing portfolio leader at Cannock Chase Council, said: “It is important that the council takes action in these cases as our aim is to prevent the spread of the virus and keep our communities safe.

“However, it is equally important that businesses which choose not to comply with the restrictions do not gain an unfair advantage over responsible competitors who do comply.

“We know that people and families who have lost loved ones will support our efforts. Our environmental health officers are checking that businesses are complying with the law, offering free advice and support to help businesses continue trading while keeping workers and customers safe."

To date, more than 2,500 people from Cannock Chase District are known to have contracted Covid-19 and 93 of these people have died.

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