Dismay at delay

Pure Gym says FM gave little time to discuss reopening

Pure Gym

Pure Gym: First Minister has not prioritised talks

Britain’s biggest gym company has expressed dismay over the First Minister’s delay in reopening leisure centres and accused her of shunning the industry’s attempts to work with her on how it can operate safely.

Pure Gym, which has 120,000 members in 24 facilities in Scotland, said it was “extremely disappointed” that the opening of gyms in Scotland has been delayed until at least 14 September.

In a statement issued after today’s update on the next stage of easing lockdown measures, Pure Gym said: “The whole gym and fitness centre industry in Scotland, will be as disappointed as we are”.

Its comments follow Dragons’ Den tycoon Duncan Bannatyne’s warning of widespread job losses unless his gyms are allowed to open before the end of next month.

Other business leaders criticised the new timetable which will see most offices stay shut until 11 September. Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said this “creates confusion for many businesses”.

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On gyms remaining closed, Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “We appreciate and understand  the cautious approach the Scottish Government has adopted but we urge the Government to bring this date forward should the spread of the virus continue to remain at acceptable low levels.”

Pure Gym said: “It strikes us as truly extraordinary that, in the middle of a health crisis, the First Minister and her team have not ascribed any real priority to working with us and our sector to understand our capacity to help provide for the better health and well-being of the Scottish people at this time.”

The company said the First Minister’s policy was “in direct contrast to other countries”. Its gyms in Switzerland are in their 12th week of opening and in Denmark it is in its 7th week after opening”.

As far as we know, there have been no incidents of transmission or infection in our facilities

– Pure Gym

“Across those countries, we have welcomed over three million visitors since reopening. We have been audited and visited by police and authorities in those countries on dozens of occasions and passed every test.

“As far as we know, there have been no incidents of transmission or infection in our facilities – and both Denmark and Switzerland have good “track and trace” systems and tracing Apps operating.

“Furthermore, we reopened gyms in Northern Ireland three weeks ago and in England this week and these re-openings have met with strong local support for the access to exercise and much consumer praise for the protocols, standards and safety processes that have been implemented.”

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