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Parliament to debate gyms and COVID-19 on 23 November

By Tom Walker    11 Nov 2020
The parliamentary debate comes after sustained lobbying by industry body, ukactive, which wants the government to class gyms and leisure centres as 'essential services' / Shutterstock.com/NDAB Creativity

The Parliament will hold a debate on COVID-19 restrictions on gyms and sport on Monday 23 November.

Taking place at 4:30pm GMT, the debate can be viewed online live on the day, through Parliament TV (click here).

The move is the result of a successful Parliamentary petition which now has 604,000 signatures and counting.

There are currently 12 Parliamentary petitions running, all set up by members of the public, calling for gyms to remain open, with this being the one with the most votes.

Industry body, ukactive wants the government to class gyms and leisure centres as "essential services" – which would mean they could keep their doors open during lockdowns.

ukactive chair Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson wrote to every MP on 2 November, asking for their support to get gyms and leisure centres classed as essential.

In her letter to MPs, Grey-Thompson said: "We believe that encouraging and supporting people to be physically active is of critical importance to your constituents and across the nation, and, therefore, we must keep access open to places where people are able to do that safely, particularly gyms, pools and leisure facilities.

"Our sector is essential to the battle with COVID-19, directly supporting the nation’s health, wellbeing and resilience. In your constituency, health services including gyms and leisure centres should be accessible, even during a lockdown.

"Loss of access to these facilities will damage activity levels significantly, as proven by the recent Sport England analysis that showed a significant drop in activity levels in the first lockdown.

"We should also highlight the SAGE analysis that documented the loss in access to facilities will have a detrimental impact on mental wellbeing and potentially increase health inequalities with some BAME and vulnerable groups," she concluded.

UPDATE

HCM understands that Tanni-Grey Thompson, chair of ukactive has today (18 November) written again to MPs asking for their support.

ukactive  Tanni Grey-Thompson  UK Parliament  parliamentary petition  
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