Gyms 'will get the green light to reopen within days

Boris Johnson is set to give gyms the green light to reopen within DAYS – provided they take measures to slow the spread of Covid

  • Boris Johnson will announce that gyms will be given the go-ahead to reopen  
  • Ministers are satisfied that the sector is ready if they follow stringent measures
  • Gyms across the UK have been preparing to reopen since the end of June  

Boris Johnson will today give gyms the go-ahead to reopen within days.

The Prime Minister is expected to unveil details of the latest unlocking of the economy as coronavirus cases continue to decline.

Ministers were last night finalising which sectors will get the go-ahead to restart, but Whitehall sources said health officials were satisfied that indoor gyms were safe to reopen, provided they take stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus.

They will be allowed to reopen by ‘mid-July’, and possibly as soon as next week. Other sectors being considered for reopening include swimming pools, beauty salons, nail bars, bowling alleys and casinos.

Though outdoor gyms and playgrounds may reopen tomorrow, indoor gyms are remaining closed because of the risk of indoor virus transmission (pictured, people take part in a small exercise class at the Lionheart Fitness gym in Bedlington, Northumberland)

The David Lloyd fitness centre in Chigwell has put various measures in place in the hope of reopening in the near future, such as moving equipment to have two metres distancing. (Pictured on June 23)

Graham Lilley measures out space at the Anytime Fitness gym centre in Leeds as the staff prepare for the eventual green light from the government to say indoor gyms can re-open

However, other sectors, such as theatres and nightclubs, look set to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Despite crowded scenes in some city centres last weekend, Mr Johnson is ready to move to the next stage of reopening. But he will warn again that restrictions could be brought back if people fail to behave responsibly or cases of the virus start to rise.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted at plans to reopen gyms yesterday during exchanges in the Commons, when he suggested they could be up and running when his new discount meal voucher comes in at the start of August.

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson said it was time to reopen gyms, joking: ‘I think the clothes shops might welcome it as well, as once we’ve eaten our way through a month’s half-priced meals, we might all be visiting them.’ 

The Chancellor replied: ‘Perhaps alongside ‘eat out to help out’, we can make progress on reopening our gyms, so at the same time we can deal with that side of the equation.’

Outdoor gyms were permitted to open from July 4, but government scientists were still nervous about lifting the restrictions on indoor facilities, which were seen as a high risk for spreading the virus. 

The PM said that his government will get gyms reopened ‘as soon as we can do it in a Covid-secure way’ (pictured, outdoor spin class at a David Lloyd fitness centre in Chigwell) 

The decision infuriated operators, who insist they can run their businesses safely and argue that it sent out a poor public health message to reopen pubs and restaurants while keeping gyms closed.

A Whitehall source said: ‘Gyms have posed a particular challenge because of the nature of their business. They basically involve having a large number of people indoors, sharing equipment and getting out of breath. When you are dealing with a respiratory virus that is obviously a challenge.’

Rules on the reopening of gyms will be published in the coming days. But it is likely to lead to a reduction in the number of people who can work out at any one time. 

Operators will be required to clean equipment each time it is used, and changing rooms could be closed, with gym-goers encouraged to arrive and leave in their kit.

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