Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centers will reopen in England in a few days as part of the government’s relaxation, with UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden suggesting that “normal life is slowly returning”.
Outdoor pools can reopen from Saturday, July 11, and indoor gyms, pools and sports facilities can open from Saturday, July 25, with new guidelines on spacing and cleaning equipment, in addition to limiting the number of people in smaller facilities and classes.
Certain team sports, such as cricket, may also return from this weekend, and open-air theater and music will also be possible from Saturday, with a limited audience.
Speaking at a press conference on Downing Street, Dowden said: “We press the pause on many of the things that light up our lives [in March] … But, as we made enormous progress against this disease, we gradually saw the return of the things we love. Normal life is slowly returning.
Dowden said that after the salon reopened on July 4, beauticians, tattoo artists, spas and tanning salons and other “close contact services”, such as nail bars, could also reopen as of Monday. However, the necessary restrictions on procedures performed directly at the front will severely limit what some companies can offer.
The decision to reopen as many gyms as possible is possible, as Boris Johnson is putting a renewed focus on his own health and tackling the country’s obesity levels.
Dowden said: “Exercise is incredibly important for physical and mental health. Even at the height of the blockade, it was considered an essential activity.
“Of course, we hoped to do that [reopening] earlier, but we really have to face it properly. We will give the academies the certainty, clarity and time to reopen safely, so that the maximum can open its doors in two weeks. “
Gym chains and coaches expressed disappointment after the sector was left out of the loosening of restrictions that went into effect last weekend, which allowed bars, restaurants and bars to reopen.
At the time, the executive director of PureGym, the UK’s largest gym chain, said the decision seemed strange in light of Johnson’s stated intention to improve the health of the UK after the Covid-19 crisis.
“It’s a strange war on obesity that sees bars and restaurants open before gyms,” said Humphrey Cobbold.
The new guidelines for gyms, swimming pools and leisure centers include limiting the number of people using any facility at one time, which may require the installation of reservation systems. It is also recommended that, in a gym, each person has 100 square feet, or approximately nine square meters, of space for use, which would include the bathroom and changing areas.
Other suggested measures include improving cleanliness and providing hand sanitizer in all locations; ensuring better ventilation and temporary floor markings for fitness or dance studios.
In addition to limiting the number of people who can use swimming pools, people are advised to wear their bathing suits to minimize the amount of time in the changing rooms.
Recreational team sports, such as cricket, may begin their comeback from 11 July, if they can show safe plans from Covid, which the Cricket Council of England and Wales has already submitted to the government.
Supporters will also be able to watch community games in small numbers, as long as they are only in groups of two families, or at most six people from different families, and follow the measures of social distance.
Each individual sport will be able to send the government an action plan showing how it plans to operate.
Action plans must recognize that the return to recreational sport may need to be stopped in the event of a high level of threat from Covid-19, nationally or locally.
Organizers will be asked to help track and track efforts by collecting information about participants in training and matches.
Sports where a single ball is used, such as basketball, cricket and football, need to include how they will reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
Asked during the press conference what the scientific basis is for opening gyms and nail bars, and whether there has been an assessment since the bars and restaurants reopened last weekend, Dowden said he consulted chief medical consultant Chris Whitty.
“The data continues to move in the right direction, so before July 4th, we announced a series of easements … we have not seen as a result of these easements the number is actually increasing,” he said.
The business department has advised the beauty sector, which faces hair removal, eyelash treatments, makeup application and facials, will not be allowed until government guidelines are changed, due to the much greater risk of transmission.
Millie Kendall, of the British Beauty Council, said: “The decision to expand the scope of available hair and beauty services will allow many more beauty professionals to return to work and also allow customers to benefit from a variety of beauty treatments. which can be performed safely, both for the client and the professional.
“It is a positive step, but we are still only part of the way there.”