A GYM owner and personal trainer says the closures will have an impact on people's mental health, and that the best substitute to a vaccine against coronavirus is a "healthy immune system".

On Wednesday, pubs, gyms, bookmakers and more were forced to close their doors in Liverpool City Region - which includes St Helens - as it was placed in the highest level of alert due to the dramatic increase of coronavirus cases in the area.

However the decision has been criticised by business leaders, who have questioned the evidence required to close some business sectors and not others.

One of those affected is Steve Rooney, owner of Steven Rooney Fitness Academy, based out of WE Train on Reflection Court.

He said: "I have my own business, I run a studio with someone else and I'm having to sign on, and it's just not right.

"I understand precautions need to be made but UK Active, the governing body for gyms have even found that the lowest contamination rates are in gyms, so why they've been closed makes no sense to me.

"I think it shows a lack of respect for the industry as a whole, because unless you train children, the disabled or professional athletes, the everyday person and their physical and mental health is not seen as important.

"Until they bring out a vaccine, the next best thing is having a healthy body and immune system and people get that by diet and working out, with the benefit that it also helps their mental health.

"I've been in contact with my MP Marie Rimmer about this because it's more of an issue than gyms shutting, it's gym owners, PTs and more importantly the mental and physical health of people locked up in their homes.

"She asked in parliament and Boris Johnson just gave a brief answer, but it's not fixing the issue.

"They are going to have more issues with mental health and higher numbers affected if they don't allow people to have that healthy escape."

Steve is going to run free fitness challenges on his social media page in a bid to help residents with their mental health during the increased restrictions.

To find out more go to @stevenrooneyfitnessacademy on Facebook.