Mr Bannatyne, who owns 11 gyms in Scotland, vowed to “never again” open a business north of the border after Nicola Sturgeon announced gyms would not reopen until September 14 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The former Dragons Den star urged Ms Sturgeon to release the scientific evidence which proved pubs, bingo alleys and bingo halls are safer than gyms.
In a full blow Twitter rant, the Scottish entrepreneur posted: “I know how much the mental health of some of our members is deteriorating but Nicola Sturgeon seems hell bent on keeping gyms closed regardless of the cost to users.
“She won’t take the time to visit one of our Health Clubs to see how we keep members safe.
“Health Clubs and many gyms have membership logging in systems that allow us to track members movements historically.
“The system tells us which other members were in the club at the same time. This gives us the best track and trace system in the world, Nicola Sturgeon. No pubs have this.
“No scientist has said that pubs, restaurants, bowling alleys, bingo halls, airports and planes are safer than gyms. No scientist ever said that!
“Unfortunately many people in Scotland are suffering due to Nicola Sturgeon but she has the power.”
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“I don’t believe she has advice saying stadiums and bowling alleys are safer than gyms.”
Quizzed over her “hidden agenda”, he added: “Independence is king. ‘We don’t care about anything as long as we get independence.’”
The First Minister set September 14 as the date for the reopening of gyms, swimming pools and indoor soft play centres this week.
This is due to be reviewed in three weeks to see if an earlier date can be set.
Although she stressed these places posed a “particular risk and require a cautious approach”.
She said the situation would be reviewed again in three weeks’ time “and if it is judged reasonable to do so, we will seek to accelerate this to the end of August”.