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Welsh government wants to open gyms first after lockdown

By Tom Walker    02 Feb 2021
The Welsh government said it had been 'really reluctant to close down gyms' for lockdown / Shutterstock.com/Kjetil Kolbjornsrud

Gyms, health clubs and leisure centres are set to be among the first businesses allowed to reopen in Wales when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, (Monday 1 February), Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government's mental health and wellbeing minister, said fitness facilities and swimming pools were "crucial" for the nation's health.

"We absolutely recognise the amazing difference that keeping fit can have on someone's mental health," Morgan said.

"That's why we were really reluctant to close down gyms, and it's why – when we do re-open – gyms will be one of the first things we consider.

"We have a very clear pathway for what gets re-opened and when – gyms are very much in the early opening areas that we would like to focus on."

Gyms and leisure centres were made to close when the new lockdown came into place in December.

It's hoped the Welsh government's stance on fitness facilities will be adopted by the other home nations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is believed to be drawing up reopening plans and in January said that he hopes that a "gradual and phased" relaxation of restrictions can begin in early March. Announcments about reopening plans are expected to be made in a prime ministerial address on 22 February.

The news comes as a parliamentary petition calling for gyms to reopen first after the current national lockdown has reached more than 36,000 signatures.

Launched by HCM editor, Liz Terry, the petition also calls for a Work Out to Help Out scheme similar to last summer’s successful scheme in the hospitality sector.

Work Out to Help Out would see the government backing the relaunch of the fitness sector, so it can claw back some of the lost New Year business while boosting the health of the nation after a long winter of enforced sedentary behaviour.

You can sign the petition – titled "Open gyms first as we come out of lockdown and fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme" – by clicking here.

Boris Johnson  Gyms  Eluned Morgan 
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