Indoor gyms and sports facilities in England will be able to reopen their doors from Saturday 25 July, but new rules and safety measures will be in place to keep customers and staff safe.
Leisure centres, indoor gyms and swimming pools have been closed since Saturday 21 March, although outdoor gyms were allowed to reopen from 4 July, while following social distancing.
With all facilities now set to reopen, here’s what’s changed since your last visit and what you need to know.
What new rules will be in place for gyms and sports facilities?
Guidance for the reopening of gyms and sports facilities has now been published, including social distancing measures and cleaning advice.
New measures include limiting the number of people using a facility at one time, reducing class sizes and spacing out equipment. People will also be encouraged to shower and change at home where possible, but changing rooms will be open.
In regards to social distancing while at an indoor gym or sports facility, the Government advice explains, “You must maintain social distancing in the gym/leisure facility wherever possible.”
However, where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses are being asked to consider whether that activity needs to continue.
If so, then all the mitigating actions possible need to be taken to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.
Mitigating actions include:
▪ Further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
▪ Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
▪ Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
▪ Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
▪ Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)
The guidance also explains that social distancing applies to all parts of a business or organisation, including entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings.
“These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing,” the guidelines explain.
Will I have to wear a face mask in the gym?
Face coverings will not be mandatory in gyms.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said face coverings would not need to be worn in gyms, explaining, "We have not taken a decision to require the wearing of face masks in respect of gyms”.
What about outdoor sports?
Small numbers of supporters will be able to watch outdoor sports, provided social distancing measures and rules regarding group sizes are followed.
However, each sport will have to submit an action plan to the government, detailing how it will operate safely. Sports where a single ball is used will have to show how they can reduce the risk of it transmitting the virus.