Indoor gyms and swimming pools can reopen from 25 July

Date published: 10 July 2020


Gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities have been given the green light to reopen from 25 July, ensuring millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities.

Leisure centres and indoor gyms, along with swimming pools and other indoor sports facilities, have been closed since Saturday 21 March as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Venues must ensure they can enable customers, staff and volunteers to maintain social distancing before, during and after participation. Outdoor gyms were permitted to reopen from 4 July while ensuring social distancing.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The reopening of gyms is the news millions across the country have been waiting for with many people desperate to jump on a spinning bike or dive into a pool.

“Our comprehensive guidance will ensure gyms, pools and leisure centres have the support they need to reopen safely for their customers and staff.

“Helping people return to gyms safely will also help the nation get match-fit to defeat this virus.”

 

Leisure centres and gyms, along with swimming pools and other indoor sports facilities can reopen from 25 July

 

Responding Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “It is great news that gyms and leisure centres can reopen, and many people will be hugely excited about being able to safely visit them again. Being active is crucial to the fight against obesity, inactivity and poor mental health, and we know that the lockdown has increased physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits for some families.

“Having had to furlough staff and faced with uncertainty about when they might be able to reopen, providers have been unable to prepare. This means it may take a bit of time to reopen some facilities in line with government guidance and to ensure the right measures in place to maintaining social distancing and safe use.”

The guidance, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has been compiled with input from the trade body ukactive, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Sport England and other sports bodies, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

It includes advice for providers of pool, gym and leisure facilities on cleaning, social distancing, and protection for staff to help venues get back up and running safely.

It also supports the re-opening of sports halls which are vital to the return of play for many sports, including badminton and volleyball. Guidance produced by National Governing Bodies will complement the government guidance and help ensure indoor sports can be played safely from 25 July.

Measures set out in the guidance include:

  • Limiting the number of people using the facility at any one time, for example by using a timed booking system;
  • Reducing class sizes and allowing sufficient time between each class to avoid groups waiting outside during changeover;
  • Ensuring an appropriate number of people are in a swimming pool at any one time;
  • Spacing out equipment or taking some out of service to maintain social distancing;
  • Enhanced cleaning and providing hand sanitizer throughout venues;
  • Considering how the way people walk through their venue could be adjusted to reduce contact, with queue management or one-way systems;
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation;
  • Encouraging the use of outdoor spaces for individual, team or group activities, making sure to comply with the latest restrictions on public gatherings;
  • Exercise or dance studios should have temporary floor markings where possible to help people stay distanced during classes;
  • Customers and staff should be encouraged to shower and change at home wherever possible, although changing rooms will be available.

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