A gym that has been forced to close since a building collapsed in north Belfast last week says it feels like it has been ‘left in limbo’ waiting for the road to reopen.
A building collapsed on the corner of Antrim Road and Limestone Road on Thursday, with parts of the road still closed to motorists.
Kevin Johnston is the co-owner of Cryo Fitness Hub and was a few doors down from the collapsed building when the incident happened.
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He told Belfast Live he believed his gym could be closed for a total of two weeks due to the road closure, leaving customers and staff unable to access their services.
Kevin said: “I was in the Hub when it happened and heard this thud and a rumble, almost like thunder and walked out – luckily it wasn’t crowded.
“The store next door had two staff members and two customers in the store at the time, but luckily it was the time of day because an hour later there would have been hundreds of schoolchildren.”
Cryo Fitness Hub closed on March 24 after the collapse and it is unclear when it will be able to be fully operational again.
“We’ve been closed ever since and made the decision to close at least until the end of the week just because we don’t know what’s going on.
“Even traders down the road have seen a big drop in trade because the road is closed and people are not coming to the area.
“We were told that work would be carried out on Saturday morning to secure the site and put supports in place to secure the final building, then demolition work this week.
“It was only this morning that I saw contractors on site carrying out work – it was a full five days,” he explained.
After two tough years of navigating their business during the pandemic, the disruption to their business was another devastating blow.
He added: “The road remains closed and it’s a main artery so buses and everything have had to be diverted to their services.
“I think it will be at least two weeks because the work seems to be very slow so far.”
Kevin has been in contact with a local councilor since Thursday’s collapse, but said communicating about the issue made him and other traders in the area feel like he had been ‘left in the dark’ .
“For the guys who work here it’s a loss of income and for the business, but we also have physiotherapists and athletic therapists here who are trying to start their own business so they can’t work,” Kevin continued:
“Our philosophy is more about mental health and again with our members and I would say 90% of our members would have had no experience with gyms before coming here and would not feel comfortable going to commercial gymnasiums.
“We’ll be freezing their memberships while we’re closed so they don’t lose out, but we’ll also be running a few free classes in the park to keep that social aspect for our members when we’re closed.”
He added: “It seems crazy that things have been left for so long, especially because it’s on a busy road and every day we’re left in limbo.”
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