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Physical activity sector will reopen in England on 12 April, but group exercise will have to wait until 17 May

By Tom Walker    22 Feb 2021
Gyms will reopen on 12 April / Shutterstock/Krakenimages.com

PM, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres in England will reopen on 12 April if current virus containment continues.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed details of his reopening roadmap today (22 February) with the government taking a cautious approach when allowing different areas of industry to reopen for business.

All outdoor sport is set to return on 29 March – the same day as the "stay at home" and "stay in your local area" orders are being brought to an end.

Specifically, outdoor meetings of up to six people are also set to be allowed from 29 March, which could allow small-group training in outdoor settings. However group exercise will not be permitted until 17 May.

The news comes as a Parliamentary Petition, started by HCM calling for gyms to reopen first after the current national lockdown in the UK has passed 222k signatures (the petition can be signed and shared: by clicking here.)

The petition – which also calls for a Workout to Help Out scheme, similar to last summer’s successful scheme in the hospitality sector – is part of the physical activity industry's lobbying efforts to be at the front of the queue for reopening.

As part of the efforts, ukactive has published six policy calls, which it says are crucial in order to help the physical activity sector survive and recover from the financial pressures caused by the pandemic (to read more, click here).

Huw Edwards, ukactive CEO, said: "Our sector is vital, not solely for the economy, but for our nation’s health and wellbeing, which has never been more important."

The news of gyms potentially opening in Stage Two in England comes as a U-turn by the Welsh First Minister (FM) – pushing back gym openings indefinitely – has infuriated gym and leisure centre operators in the country.

On 1 February, Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government's mental health and wellbeing minister, had said fitness facilities and swimming pools were "crucial" for the nation's health and would be "one of the first things we are considering for opening".

On 19 February, however, FM Mark Drakeford stated that he "doesn't anticipate that we will see gyms reopening" (to read more, click here).

leisure centres  government  boris johnson  gyms 
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