34-year-old Andreas Michli, a gym owner in Wood Green, North London, who refused to shut down his business during the second national lockdown, is now facing a £67,000 fine. More than 30 police officers were called to the scene of Zone Gym in response to Michli’s blatant defiance of lockdown guidelines.
Michli made numerous posts on social media vowing to keep his business, Zone Gym, open during the lockdown, despite the risk of fine and arrest. In fact, Michli has faced numerous fines for violating lockdown rules this year, and is seeking to fight the rulings in the courts.
Michli says that he is being charged an additional £7,500 for court costs on top of £67,000 in fines
Michli said that he felt that keeping his business was the right thing to do.
“There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t close. 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,” Michli said.
Authorities say that Michli is putting the public at risk by violating the rules.
Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said that authorities attempted to communicate with Michli multiple times before they ran out of patience.
Michli reportedly had an angry exchange with officers as they arrived at the premises to stop people from entering the car park, according to The Sun.
Michli later said that he understood that the police were just doing their jobs.
Gym-users who were unable to gain access to the building also yelled at police. One patron told the officers that they were “behaving like Nazis,” and told them that they should be ashamed of themselves.
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.”
Even after the raid, Michli was defiant, saying that he still intends to keep his gym open.
“We are staying open because it’s the right thing to do and we need the message to get out there to the public. I am flabbergasted gyms are being forced to close. Gyms have some of the lowest infection rates of business sectors. 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,” Michli promised.
Another gym owner in Bedford, 32-year-old Alex Lowndes, promised to keep his gym, Gainz Fitness and Strength, open throughout the lockdown.