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Coronavirus: UK physical activity operators begin closures

By Tom Walker    19 Mar 2020
Boutique operator 1Rebel will shut all of its sites on 21 March / 1Rebel

Fitness and physical activity operators in the UK have begun closing facilities and cancelling events, ahead of the predicted peak in the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

Parkrun has cancelled all UK events with immediate effect.

"Following government advice and public health guidelines, we are suspending events in the UK from this weekend until at least the end of March," parkrun said in a statement.

"With this announcement parkrun is now closed in every territory around the world until further notice."

Boutique operator 1Rebel is among the private operators which will close all of its studios in London until further notice.

In an open letter to its members, CEO James Balfour said: "In light of recent government updates, we have made the decision to close all of our clubs, effective from 21 March onwards.

"While it breaks our hearts to have to close the clubs, we’re a firm believer in pulling together as one to face the challenge head-on, and we know as a member of the Rebel Army you are with us on this.

"We would like to take a moment to give a shout out to all of our Trainers, Cleaners and Front of House teams, who have been working tirelessly on the front line as the situation has evolved."

In the public sector, Edinburgh Leisure – which operaters venues on behalf of the city council – said it will close all of its 22 leisure centres and other venues at the close of play on Thursday 19 March.

Other local authorities which have decided to close their leisure centres and swimming pools include Belfast City Council, Leeds City Council, Nottingham City Council, South Norfolk Council, Walsall Council, Calderdale Council, Telford & Wrekin Council, Wandsworth Borough Council.

June Peebles, CEO of Edinburgh Leisure said: “These are unprecedented and challenging times for everyone and we are communicating this news to all our stakeholders which includes staff, customers, service providers, tenants, partners, suppliers and volunteers as soon as possible.

“Edinburgh Leisure is a charity; and every penny we receive from memberships, lets, events and funding is reinvested back into our venues and funds the services that we provide – therefore shutting our venues and therefore freezing customers’ memberships has huge consequences for us and also the health of Edinburgh.

“While our customers won’t be able to keep active with Edinburgh Leisure for the time being, we will be looking at offering advice to our customers on tips for keeping moving remotely and access to classes via ‘Les Mills on demand’ so that customers can workout at home.

"And providing advice from Public Health Scotland allows people to not require to totally self-isolate, there is also the option of going for a walk or run outside.

“We really hope that once the situation passes that customers will return to Edinburgh Leisure venues to keep active and stay active once again and to continue supporting us as they have done for the last 22 years.”

Fitness  physical activity  COVID-19  Coronavirus  Parkrun  1Rebel  James Balfour  Edinburgh Leisure  Belfast  Leeds  Nottingham  
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