'At least we have a date' - Gym owners' relief as potential reopening nears

Gyms in Norfolk have expressed their relief as prime minister Boris Johnson announced his lockdown roadmap last week.

Gyms in Norfolk have expressed their relief as prime minister Boris Johnson announced his lockdown roadmap last week. - Credit: Submitted

Gyms in Norfolk have expressed their relief as they look forward to potentially being reunited with customers in spring. 

The prime minister's announcement, which took place on Monday, February 22, told the public how the country would gradually come out of its national lockdown from March 8.

Along with relaxing rules on the number of people being able to meet outdoors, gym owners were also given the news that - if everything goes to plan - they will be able to reopen from April 12.

The owner of Gressenhall-based GF Personal Training, Freddie Grice, said he was keeping his fingers crossed after the announcement.

Freddie Grice, 26, from Dereham with the strength and conditioning gym of the year trophy

Freddie Grice, 26, from Dereham with the strength and conditioning gym of the year trophy - Credit: FG Personal Training

He said: "Most gyms are doing the right thing, so I don't know where the 'gyms are unsafe' message came from.

"I don't think you can make judgments about gyms without having the right information.

"There haven't been enough studies done to give the proper information, especially locally."

Freddie Grice founded FG Personal Training in 2015

Freddie Grice founded FG Personal Training in 2015 - Credit: Brief Media

The business was founded in 2015 by Mr Grice when he began offering personal training from a shed in his parents' back garden.

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After becoming increasingly busy, the 26-year-old opened his own gym in 2019 and hired other personal trainers to cope with the demand.

"We work pretty much one-to-one or two-to-one," he said. "We have 3,500sq ft, so social distancing for us is really easy because we don't have hundreds of people in there at a time.

The official opening of Big Andy's Gym in Dereham owned by Andy Clarke. Picture: Ian Burt

The official opening of Big Andy's Gym in Dereham owned by Andy Clarke. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

"I have to give credit to the other gyms, everybody around here looks like they have absolutely nailed it with cleaning, spacing out the kit and limiting their numbers."

Big Andy's Gym, based on Swaffham Hill, also welcomed the decision to open again, with owner Andy Clarke, saying "at least we have a date".

The former world's strongest man competitor said: "I was expecting us to open at the same time as the schools, so was a little concerned when it wasn't announced.

"I just keep thinking that at least we have a date. Out members have been amazing, with some still offering to pay their membership while we have been closed to help us pay the rent.

"I feel like we have had enough help from the government and I'm excited to see people back in the gym again."


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