The Liverpool Gyms

I had sympathy for Chris Ellerby-Hemmings this month, one of several Liverpool gymnasium owners unwilling to close their premises despite ‘Tier 3’. He pointed out the lack of evidence demonstrating gyms as viral breeding grounds. Presumably, masked gym-goers regularly dowsed in sanitising fluids will be just as protected as shoppers in the mall. At a time when sporting activities are curtailed, a ‘Covid-safe’ gym would surely be part of any solution to keep us fit, physically and mentally. The following day, masked, armed police officers descended on those defiant Liverpudlian gymnasia, issuing hefty fines and preventing entry. Owner Nick Whitcombe reported: 

"So they've issued the fine. First one's £1,000. They can come back in three hours and issue £2,000. Three hours after that £4,000.” 

Some will not applaud the gyms' defiance and think that they deserve all they get. The churches were quick to comply with the last order to close, but should there be a second, I am not so sure. Are the Liverpudlian gyms acting as a role model for Christian churches, remaining open in the face of persecution, because their love of fitness exceeds their fear of Whitehall? Or should we Christians, who are called to live quiet lives of obedience to the state, acquiesce in orders and regulations we might not like? 

Whatever we think, the response of the police is an interesting peek into the future: sullen, stone-faced officers guarding church doors, refusing admission. Fines so huge they can never be paid except with jailtime. A little sympathy from the wider community, but also a strong disapproval from everyone else. Thankfully, the churches remain open (regardless of whether some pastors choose to avail themselves of the government's good gesture) so we currently have no dilemma to face. I think our government is still well-meaning, if not entirely competent, so as things stand, we may leave the fines and uniformed rottweilers to the gym-heads. 

Top image by timajo from Pixabay

Bottom image by skeeze from Pixabay