Gyms, pools and sports facilities will be among the next set of public venues able to reopen as the UK government announced further easing up of its COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures on Thursday.
UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden told reporters at a 10 Downing Street briefing that outdoor pools and live shows can resume from this Saturday with social distancing in place and indoor gyms, sports facilities and pools will be able to reopen from the following Saturday, July 25.
“We need to get this match fit to defeat this disease. It is time to eat out to help out,” said Dowden.
The Cabinet minister, however, warned that the government would not hesitate to apply the brakes on these further measures or impose localised lockdowns in the event of any spike in coronavirus cases.
“The reopening of gyms is the news millions across the country have been waiting for with many people desperate to jump on a spinning bike or dive into a pool,” said Dowden.
Under the guidance for reopening, gyms must use timed booking systems to limit the number of people in the building at one time and allow for social distancing, while equipment must be spaced out and cleaned regularly.
All of these facilities have been closed since March 21 to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The news comes as government figures show that a further 85 people have died with coronavirus across all settings in the UK.
The Department of Health and Social Care said 44,602 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of Wednesday evening.