Wicklow gym owner says he'll reopen in April even if restrictions are in place


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.37 24 Feb 2021


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A Wicklow gym owner says he'll be reopening his business in April, regardless of the restrictions that are in place.

The Government yesterday confirmed level five lockdown is being extended through March, with the situation to be reviewed before April 5th.

The Taoiseach and ministers say it's too early to consider lifting most restrictions, and that they can't give definitive reopening dates due to the uncertainty around coronavirus variants.

However, some members of the public have expressed frustration that they've been given no firm dates about when restrictions will be eased.

On Lunchtime Live, Gary Dempsey of Match Fit Fitness said he'll '100%' be reopening at some stage in April, albeit with 'massively reduced' capacity.

Wicklow gym owner says he'll reopen in April even if restrictions are in place

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He said: “We will be opening in April, because once we hit April we’ll have been closed for 12 months out of 14.

“I won’t be opening fully - I’ll be opening at a massively reduced capacity. I’ll have maybe six people on site at a time. I’m not going to be opening recklessly or anything like that.

“At the moment, I’m not allowed one person in a 10,500 square foot facility… it just doesn’t make sense, and it’s not fair."

Gary said he 'totally understands' how serious the situation is in hospitals, and that he's hoping the virus numbers will be in a much better place in April.

However, he believes there's 'no light at the end of the tunnel' for business owners after 12 months of restrictions

He said: “That [Government] press briefing was a complete waste of time… they haven’t gauged the feeling of the public too well, I think, because there’s a lot of anger out there.

“When do the rest of us matter? When does my business matter?

"People are at breaking point... How am I going to pay my mortgage and feed my kids?

"They're not giving me any dates... the help they're giving us financially is nowhere near enough."

He said he knows gardaí are likely to arrive at his business if there hasn't been an official green light given for reopening, but that's he feels like he needs to take a stand for his family and business.

Main image: Match Fit Fitness gym in Wicklow

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