Gyms and swimming pools in England could be set to open as soon as next week under the latest lockdown easing to be announced by the Prime Minister.
According to reports the Government is finalising plans that would see a number of new sectors reopen, having been closed since the end of March.
Gyms and pools could reopen ‘in mid-July’ alongside nail bars, bowling alleys and beauty salons.
But theatres and casinos would remain closed.
A source told the daily Mail: “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.”
Operations manager Graham Lilley measures out space at the Anytime Fitness gym centre in Leeds, West Yorkshire as the staff prepare for the eventual green light from the government to say indoor gyms can re-open
Rules on gym opening – including new distancing and hygiene measures – will be published in the next few days.
Venues that are Covid secure will then be allowed to reopen.
Changing rooms could be closed, and equipment may have to be cleaned after every use.
Anytime Fitness UK’s CEO Neil Randall said various safety measures at his premises have already been planned out and implemented.
Mr Randall hopes his gyms, which number 165 in the UK and Ireland, will be able to reopen in mid-July.
Pictures taken at the Anytime Fitness in Leeds, West Yorkshire, show a number of the safety measures already implemented to ensure safe conduct.
As in many shops, there is a dedicated entrance and separate exit, to prevent people getting to close to one another, and hand sanitiser dispensers are stationed throughout.
Blue tape with the words ‘keep a safe distance’ can be seen stuck on the floors inside the gym, in order to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
Operations manager Graham Lilley measures out the distances
Some machines have been moved to ensure the distances between them are as far as possible in the space allowed.
Workers at the gym have also embarked on an increased cleaning schedule, meaning the machines and all areas will be sanitised even more often than usual.
Mr Randall said: “We have been working on the reopening process since the beginning of April.
“We’ve had meetings twice a week with others involved in the sector to work out the best and safest way to return.
“Scientists have also been involved in the discussions.
“We’re now at a point where we can return, we could return this weekend were we permitted to.
“However it looks like the date will be later in the month and when it’s announced we will be ready to go.”