A HALESOWEN gym owner is gearing up to reopen later this month after lockdown brought the business "to its knees".

Workoutz gym is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year - but owner Tracey Nicholls said if it wasn't for the support of loyal customers who continued paying fees since it closed in March - it would have folded.

Tracey, who owns the gym at Borough Court, Grammar School Lane, with her husband Paul Nicholls said they can't wait to get back in the gym and have used lockdown to give it a whole new look as well as implementing an array of safety measures in line with Covid-19 guidance to keep staff and gym-goers safe.

It will reopen along with gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities across England next Saturday (July 25) after the government announced the move to ensure millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities.

Tracey, aged 46, said: "We had a £10k grant initially but we have still had to pay rent, for services such as broadband, insurance.

"We are on our knees - it will take a while until we can make any profit - but if we can cover our costs that will really help.

"We are very humbled that we have had some members who have kept paying because they wanted a gym to come back to.

"They have kept us going - if it wasn't for them we would have gone under."

The gym will welcome back one staff member who was furloughed - another has found a new job - so it is now looking to recruit an apprentice.

Tracey, who has done online classes throughout lockdown incluing Zumba, Blockfit and clubbercise, said it was a blow when pubs were allowed to open, but not gyms.

The mum-of-three, who is friends with X-factor star Chico and works as a trainer for his fitness programme, said: "It was frustrating that pubs were allowed to reopen but not gyms.

"It seemed nonsensical. In pubs when people are drinking social distancing can go out the window, but in gyms our sanitisation is already high spec and we can really manage social distancing.

"We can't wait to get back - we are a very social gym - everyone knows each other.

"We have people from all walks of life - we have one user with cerebral palsy, another who is visually impaired, people with mental health issues like anxiety - they really depend on the gym - coming to the gym is such a release for them."

Halesowen News:

The new measures put in place at Workoutz include:

• A maximum of 29-32 people allowed to use the gym at one time (depending on staff numbers)

• Perspex screens between treadmills

• A monitor to ensure there is adequate ventilation

• A new membership system so people can see how many people are in gym at one time

• Classes limited to eight people

• Classes on static equipment such as exercise bikes (no zumba or classes where people move around a lot)

• A new timetable for classes allowing for equipment to be sanitised and cleaned and to avoid groups waiting

• Hand sanitiser stations at entrance

There are no contracts at Workoutz with gym-goers able to pay per session, per week, or monthly.