Northumberland sets out plans for reopening leisure centres

Sports and leisure centres in Northumberland’s main towns will reopen later in July as the Government further eases restrictions.

By Ben O'Connell
Monday, 13th July 2020, 11:43 am
Updated Monday, 13th July 2020, 11:43 am
Andrew Pearson and Lindsey Humble demonstrate the new floor plan to enable social distancing.
Andrew Pearson and Lindsey Humble demonstrate the new floor plan to enable social distancing.

Active Northumberland, the charitable trust which manages the facilities on behalf of the county council, has announced that it will be reopening nine key centres on Saturday, July 25, as part of a phased reopening of services.

However, to enable social distancing, the centres will initially be restricted to members only, as a limited number of people will be permitted into each exercise class, gym session and pool.

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The first centres to reopen on July 25 will be: Ashington; Alnwick – Willowburn; Berwick – Swan Centre; Blyth; Cramlington – Concordia; Hexham – Wentworth; Morpeth – Riverside; Ponteland; Prudhoe Waterworld. The Pegasus Riding Centre at Tranwell, near Morpeth, will also be reopening.

At Concordia and Prudhoe Waterworld, the pools are undergoing the final stages of maintenance work and will reopen a week later on August 1.

Coun Cath Homer, the cabinet member for leisure, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming our customers back. Active Northumberland staff are raring to go, and I know many customers are very keen to get back into their regular fitness routines.

“Health, hygiene and safety remain our top priorities. The centres we are reopening are the bigger venues, which have lots of space to enable social distancing.

“I hope the thorough measures that have been put in place will provide our customers with the confidence to pick up their fitness regimes with us where they left off in March.”

New stringent cleaning measures have been introduced which include a 30-minute closure of all activities after each session to enable the thorough cleaning of equipment.

There will also be anti-bacterial wipes available in the gyms for members to wipe down their equipment and hand-sanitiser points throughout the centres.

Members will also be required to pre-book all activities online through the Active Northumberland website or app to secure their place and ensure numbers are limited.

Other restrictions at first include the cafés remaining closed, while the GP referral classes for residents with underlying health issues will continue to be suspended.

Active’s acting chief executive, Mark Warnes, said: “We have been following government guidance and have taken industry advice from Swim England, UK Active and Public Health England and believe we have a really robust system in place which I hope our customers will find reassuring.

“We have introduced some significant changes to the way we operate which we will be communicating to our members directly and through short information videos, which we will be releasing over the coming weeks.”

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