Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.32 22 Oct 2020


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A Dublin gym owner who said he would defy level five coronavirus restrictions and stay open has changed his mind, owing to a quote from his mother. 

Simon Murphy, who owns Westside Gym in Blanchardstown, announced on Wednesday to Lunchtime Live that he planned to stay open, despite all gyms being told to close from midnight.

He said he was refusing to close as he believed exercising is an essential part of people's day and positive for their mental health.

But speaking again to Lunchtime Live on Thursday, he said he had hoped for more support from the industry.

"Unfortunately as something that goes against every fibre of my being, I had to revert and change my whole stance and not open the doors.

"It was a genuine effort to get fellow gym owners, people in the fitness industry, to join together rather than pulling apart.

"It wasn't an effort to steal anyone else's customers or for financial gain, typified by the point that from the get-go we were saying we weren't accepting new members".

He said the clincher was a quote that his mother gave to him.

"By the end of the evening, I think the line in our house was that you're trying to fight for an industry that - by and large and for the most part - won't fight with you."

He also pointed to gyms in the English city of Liverpool which refused to close under restrictions - with officials ultimately deciding to allow them remain open.

"Unfortunately the response here among the other gym owners didn't follow suit.

"It's a lonely place to be: myself and a couple of other gyms decided to take that stance - but of the 490+ gyms in Ireland, less than a handful decided to take the same stance.

"I appreciate everyone that did... but unfortunately it's not a voice that can heard alone, and you can't start a movement unless people move".

"We don't have a fitness industry regulator or anyone to speak for us".

Visit from the Gardaí

Simon also said he was visited by the Gardaí on Wednesday.

"I was met with what I thought I was going to be met with, which was outlining what conditions and rules etc I would be in breach of and what the procedures would be.

"And I understood that, that kind of comes with the territory, it's just when you're the only one that's going to be met with these restrictions and fines, etc".

He said he feels deflated over his decision - but wanted to thank everyone for their support.

"Today isn't much better - the only thing that I can say is that all of the messages that we received, I expected it to be very split and very much one message contradicting the other, and that hasn't been the case.

"It's been very positive".

Dublin gym owner who vowed to defy lockdown rules keeps business shut

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image by Aberro Creative from Pixabay 

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Blanchardstown Coronavirus Restrictions Gym Owner Level Five Simon Murphy Westside Gym

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