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A gym owner who was given a £1,000 ($1,300) fine for allegedly breaching coronavirus rules says he’s ‘relieved’ after the 12-month case has been dropped.
Jack Ramsay, from Coventry, was given the fine after allegedly holding group training sessions in a gazebo in his gym's car park while restrictions were in place that limited exercise activities, Metro reports.
Ramsay and his brother splashed out a grand on the gazebo and implemented a cleaning schedule and ventilation system that met the guidelines laid out by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity. They also ensure social distancing and fitted hand sanitiser stations.
The Tier 4 rules at the time allowed outdoor gyms to remain open for individuals, household groups, support bubbles or for two people with social distancing.
But within days police attended the gym following complaints Ramsay was breaking the rules - both times the police gave the venue the all-clear.
However, on a third visit in January last year Ramsay was issued with a fine and faced prosecution for ‘failing to close a non-essential business’.
Believing that he had not broken the law, Ramsay went to the police station to pick up copies of the previous reports and vowed to fight the fine.
When the case eventually went to Coventry Magistrates’ Court in December, it was swiftly dismissed before he even got a chance to set foot in the courtroom.
Ramsay told Metro: “I’m massively relieved and a bit bemused as well. I went to court to contest the £1,000 fine but I didn’t even make it into the room, the case was dismissed as soon as I got there.
“I could have just paid up but I went there with the evidence that I’d had the all-clear from multiple police visits.
“I didn’t even make it into the courtroom, a court official came out into the communal area and asked me why I was pleading not guilty.
“I told her why and that I’d collected the evidence and she popped her head back out of the door and said I could go home.”
Ramsay has spoken out as the government is embroiled in an inquiry into alleged parties held during lockdown, something which has left a bitter taste for the gym owner.
He added: “I feel a bit aggrieved that the government has shown on so many occasions that they were negligent towards the rules whereas a small business like mine which has suffered so much during Covid gets fined £1,000 on the spot when we’ve done nothing wrong.”
Council leader Kristofer Wilson told Metro: "We were just trying to save lives and help Mr Ramsay operate safely and legally.
"We did our best to provide clear information about government regulations at a time when the number of people dying with Covid across the country that month had doubled. We of course can’t comment on enforcement action taken by police and the courts."
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