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ukactive members and stakeholders join forces to create reopening framework for health clubs

By Tom Walker    07 May 2020
The framework document has been endorsed by the UK’s leading operators – both public and private / Shutterstock/Dusan Petkovic

ukactive has published an operational framework for use by gyms, leisure centres and the wider UK fitness industry when reopening – once they're permitted to do so by the government.

The framework has been reviewed by independent medical experts and ukactive’s Scientific Advisory Board, to ensure gym and health club owners base their operational decisions on scientific evidence and guidance.

The document has also been informed by best practice from international markets, where the sector is at different stages of managing the COVID-19 pandemic and is endorsed by the UK’s leading operators.

ukactive will use the framework to inform ongoing discussions with the government on the proposed reopening of the sector, providing the government with insight and expertise from the sector.

“The timeline for reopening gyms and leisure centres has not yet been confirmed and we continue to work with the government on the issue," said Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive.

“We hope the development of this framework provides the government with the support it needs, as it plans the reopening of our sector."

The framework has been designed to provide the basis for individual operators to develop their own technical operating guidance for customers, staff and supply chains.

Anticipating the government’s requirements for continued social distancing once reopening commences, it covers the following areas for the safe operation of facilities:

• General operations, such as public information, staff wellbeing and hand sanitising

• Cleaning• Reception area management

• Changing room/showers/toilets gym • Studios

• Courts/sports halls• Swimming pools and wet side facilities

• Cafés and restaurants• Outdoor fitness

• First aid and lifeguards• Specific operational needs

"The framework offers crucial support to our members as they plan their emergence from lockdown by putting the safety of members and staff first," Edwards added.

“In shaping this guidance with us, our members have demonstrated their collective unity to address this crisis together, and their shared responsibility for the nation’s health and wellbeing.

“While this framework offers immediate support for operators as they plan for the future, our members continue to face major financial pressures – from paying rent and utility bills, to accessing funding for furloughing staff, and negotiating terms with local authorities.

“This framework needs to go hand in hand with clarity around continued financial support from the government as part of its reopening plans for the sector so that businesses can remain financially viable.

“It's important the government understands the unique role these facilities play in our society, with public leisure alone contributing £3.3bn towards our population’s health and wellbeing, and gyms and leisure centres employing around 189,000 people.”

The framework will be reviewed regularly and updated where necessary, in accordance with any changes to the government’s guidelines and partners’ guidance.

• To download and read the framework, click here.

ukactive  fitness sector  Huw Edwards  COVID-19 
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