Missed your gym? Your patience has paid off… gyms, indoor pools and sports facilities in England will be able to reopen from 25th July and outdoor pools from 11th July.
Social distancing measures will apply with equipment spaced out and smaller class sizes. There may be restrictions on the number of people allowed in gyms and people will be encouraged to shower at home, although changing rooms will be open. Gyms must use timed booking systems to limit the number of people in them at one time and allow for social distancing.
‘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,’ said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. ‘Our comprehensive guidance will ensure gyms, pools and leisure centres have the support they need to reopen safely for their customers and staff.’
The culture secretary acknowledged that gyms will help to play a valuable role in helping the nation get fit in order to defeat the virus.
Team sports back soon
Recreational team sports will be allowed to start resuming outdoors from this weekend too.
Guidance has already been published on the government’s website on how to keep sports and gym facilities clean. Gyms have been instructed to communicate clearly to participants and workers, encouraging them to arrive dressed in gym gear. It has said that hand washing and hand sanitiser must be provided and staff and customers should be encouraged to wash their hands regularly. Contactless payments should be made, and signage must be used to make staff and customers aware of the need to avoid contact throughout the facility.
Doors should be kept open where safe to minimise touching and maximum capacity in the gym should be based on the government’s requirement for social distancing. Gyms should also take steps to ensure that members don’t need to raise their voices to each other, including refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting.
While it may be some time before our gyms get back to normal, and we may have to exercise without music and we won’t be able to high-five our training partners, it’s great news for many who don’t have the space or inclination to work out at home. Or those like our editor, who just don’t enjoy exercising outdoors when it’s cold, overcast or raining.