While many industries have been given the green-light to reopen in England from July 4, questions remain about when the nation might be able to step foot in the gym again.
Boris Johnson told the Commons on Tuesday that from this date, ‘most leisure facilities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do so safely, including outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.’
So outdoor gyms are open, personal training sessions are a go, but what about indoor gyms?
When will gyms reopen in the UK?
No official date has been given for the re-opening of indoor gyms, although it’s now clear they won’t open on July 4.
However, it appears as though they could open within the month, with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, writing on Twitter that – all going well – facilities could open from ‘mid-July.’
Following the PM’s announcement to reopen other industries from 4 July, he tweeted: ‘Many people keen to hit the gym & keeping Britain fit is key in Covid battle.’
‘We’ve made lots of progress & I know steps businesses have taken to make their spaces & equipment safe.
‘Subject to public health, our aspiration is to reopen gyms & leisure facilities in mid-July.’
Huw Edwards, the chief executive of UK Active (a company which represents thousands of gyms and leisure centres) said they are in ‘conversations with the Government to establish a clear roadmap to reopening.’
He also emphasised they are keen to get the sector moving.
‘Many people will be understandably frustrated by the decision not to reopen the fitness and leisure sector from 4 July,’ he said.
‘Our sector’s safety standards are among the highest in Europe, where other nations have already reopened their gyms and leisure facilities safely.
‘We have invited Government and health officials to visit any of the hundreds of gym and leisure centre show sites across the country, and witness how facilities would operate with thorough social distancing measures and hygiene standards in place.
‘Any further delay to our reopening will threaten our nation’s recovery from Covid-19. With obesity the second largest cause of hospitalisation from this virus, gyms and leisure centres are equipped to not only combat Covid-19, but to support rehabilitation for those recovering from the virus.’
The Government’s decision not to reopen on July 4 has also been heavily criticised by CEO of David Lloyd Glenn Earlam, who said 80 per cent of his clubs have been prepping to reopen for July 4, with furloughed staff being brought back and social distancing measures put in place.
PureGym also said it was ready to reopen and released a video of what it would look like under the ‘new normal.’
Sean McCoy, CEO of GearJunkie previously told Metro.co.uk about some of the changes people might expect to see when they return to the gym, such as the removal of changing rooms, temperature swabbing on arrival and fewer machines.
‘Where possible, expect to see glass dividers in-between equipment, as well as a reduction in machines on the gym floor to reduce the number of gym goers,’ he said.
‘It is likely that gyms will ask members to stagger their visits and allocate times in order to avoid ques awaiting entry.’
Why aren’t gyms reopening on July 4?
Gyms are not reopening because they are deemed a ‘close proximity’ venue, together with night clubs, soft play areas, swimming pools and spas.
The PM said: ‘Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will need to remain closed for now, as will bowling alleys and water parks.’
He added: ‘Business and Culture Secretaries will establish taskforces with public health experts and these sectors to help them become Covid-secure and re-open as soon as possible.’
While sports are allowed, indoor facilities including changing rooms and courts remain shut.
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