Leisure lockdown lifted

Gyms up and running but eat out scheme ends

Duncan Bannatyne

Duncan Bannatyne: had warned of closures

Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts have reopen in Scotland today after 24 weeks in coronavirus lockdown.

Venues are able to welcome members back after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon brought the planned date for some indoor sports forward by two weeks. Gyms in England reopened on 25 July.

The reopening of indoor sports halls follows weeks of pressure from the fitness industry, sports governing bodies and a number of business lobby groups.

Former Dragons’ Den panelist Duncan Bannatyne had warned that continued closure threatened the future of his 71 UK health clubs.

Pure Gym, Britain’s biggest gym company, had 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 gyms could operate safely. The company operates 24 gyms in Scotland. The company said that it operated gyms around Europe and cases of coronavirus had been rare.

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In a statement today, a spokesman said: “All gyms have sanitisation stations, contact-free entry and rigorous overnight deep cleaning and we’ve received highly positive feedback on cleanliness from our members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have already returned for millions of gyms visits without incident.”

Although the reopening of gyms was brought forward from its planned date of 14 September, the announcement came too late for DW which closed its centres after its parent company went into administration.

Some gyms are expected to face a long haul back to pre-Covid levels with a survey showing only 30.98% of members have returned [5,055 Member Survey].

The UK had the highest rate of gym membership cancellations of any country (21.76%), making it likely the fitness industry has already lost and will continue to lose billions if the situation does not improve. A further 38.55% are currently considering cancelling their memberships. 

Where clubs are reopening employers or operators of sports facilities have a legal duty to protect staff and users from risks to their health and safety. They are required to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment of the facility itself, as well as the activities taking place.

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