Coronavirus: Gyms and swimming pools in England to be allowed to reopen, government confirms

9 July 2020, 16:40 | Updated: 9 July 2020, 19:57

Swimming pools and gyms in England will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks, the government has confirmed, as part of the ongoing assessment of regulations to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Outdoor pools can open to the public again this Saturday - July 11 - with indoor pools, gyms and sports facilities following a fortnight later on July 25.

Strict measures will be put in place to ensure the health and safety of staff and customers, including the maintaining of social distancing.

These measures will include limiting the number of people using a facility at one time - such as through a timed booking system - extra cleaning, smaller class sizes and limiting how many people can use a swimming pool at any one time.

People will also be encouraged to shower and change at home where possible, though changing rooms will be open.

The move follows guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), compiled with input from the trade body ukactive, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Sport England and other sports bodies, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

Leisure centres and indoor gyms, along with swimming pools and other indoor sports facilities, have been closed since March 21 as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Outdoor gyms were permitted to reopen from July 4 while ensuring social distancing.

"The reopening of gyms is the news millions across the country have been waiting for with many people desperate to jump on a spinning bike or dive into a pool," said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"Our comprehensive guidance will ensure gyms, pools and leisure centres have the support they need to reopen safely for their customers and staff.

"Helping people return to gyms safely will also help the nation get match-fit to defeat this virus."