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UK gym owner was ordered to stop online Zoom classes during lockdown

The local council has since apologized.
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A gym owner in the UK was ordered by the local council to stop holding virtual gym sessions because it was somehow in violation of COVID-19 rules. However, he was the only one physically present in the gym and broadcasting online.

A council worker for the Charnwood Borough Council, in Leicestershire, England, visited Body Transformation Center, a gym owned by Nick Wardle, after a member of the public reported a potential violation of coronavirus rules. The council official told Wardle that he had to stop holding classes.

But Wardle was not violating restrictions. When the council official came to inspect, there was only Wardle, an empty studio, a laptop, and a TV.

“There was only me, my laptop and a telly on the wall there.

“There was nobody else who could have been infected or who could have infected me – just clients safe and sound on the other end of a Zoom call.

“But he wasn’t having any of it.

“He told me: ‘I don’t make the rules, the rules are there in black and white’.

“I said it’s not a gym. It’s empty, most of the equipment has gone because I’ve lent most of it out.

“It’s a glorified office which I’m just using to do sessions online,” Wardle told LeicestershireLive.

The story caught the attention of the public when Wardle posted a video on Facebook expressing his frustration. Unsurprisingly, most people thought the council was being ridiculous and complained.

The council has since allowed Wardle to continue the virtual sessions, which he holds on Zoom.

Wardle was using the gym, which he still has to pay to rent, because working from home would disturb his family and neighbors.

He claims he had to do the virtual gym sessions because he cares about his clients, some of whom are struggling with their mental health and “exercise is what keeps them sane.”

A spokesperson for the Charnwood Borough Council said that the council received a complaint about the gym being open, insisting that once a complaint is received “we are duty-bound to investigate.”

“An officer visited the premises on Friday and discussed the situation with the owner who said he was using the gym for running virtual classes via Zoom…The Zoom classes did not have to stop immediately but we apologize if that was not clear,” the spokesperson said.

The UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown states gyms will be allowed to re-open to the public starting April 12.

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