‘It really hurt,’ says Hoxton gym owner who launched business just before coronavirus “hit”
- Credit: Hitio Gym
A Hoxton gym owner who founded his business just five weeks before the first coronavirus lockdown says he is “nervous” about the impact the second one will have.
Tim Greenaway opened Hitio Gym on January 27 and said things were going well until the pandemic hit and he had to shut his doors in March.
“It’s really cruel for us, second time in six months. I feel very nervous to be honest,” Tim said.
All gyms and leisure centres were made to close on November 5 as part of a national coronavirus lockdown set to end on December 2.
The news will likely be a blow to the fitness and leisure industry in Hackney, which saw residents returning to gyms and pools in the borough in large numbers.
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In October, Better, a nationwide community leisure facility operator, revealed that there had been more than 100,000 visits to Better’s Hackney swimming pools and almost 50,000 visits to Hackney gyms between July and September.
Tim told the Gazette what is was like having to close his newly opened business so soon after it launched.
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We [opened our doors] and memberships were going okay and then a few weeks later Covid-19 hit us.
“It was a challenging time for many businesses not just us.
“But it affected us particularly as a new business. It really hurt.
Tim, who has worked in the fitness industry for about 30 years, continued: “It was a worry, a stress and a struggle but once the government announced that gyms could reopen again we did everything we could to try and get consumer confidence back up again and did everything that we had to do, to stay within UK active guidelines and make sure the club was safe and secure.”
Time says feedback from members was “positive” and his team “enthusiastic” in helping to ensure the club was safe, secure and clean. They also moved equipment around to ensure members could social distance while working out.
Despite the setbacks caused by the coronavirus crisis Tim and his members also managed to raise £500 for Hackney Foodbank during the first lockdown.
He asked younger members to take up the Hitio five challenge, which involved five star jumps, press-ups, squats and burpees, for a “worthwhile cause”.
“It’s a gorgeous little independent club with a beautiful view of Regent’s Canal and were very proud of it – its always been a dream of mine to open up.
And there’s quite a bit at stake but we’ve begged, borrowed, stole – we haven’t really – to get the club up to scratch and we’re proud of it.”
We just want all this to blow over and let people come back to a family friendly gym and keep that momentum going really.”
When the gym is open they offer martial arts classes for children and adults.
A petition to keep gyms open during the lockdown has gained over 600,000 signatures and will be debated in parliament on November 23.
The government responded to the petition on October 23 and said: “Sports and physical activity facilities are crucial for adults and children to stay active. The Government’s phased approach is based on scientific and medical advice to protect public health.”
Find out more about Hitio gym by clicking here
To view the petition and read the government’s full response visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/333869