GYMS and leisure centres were among the last businesses to open their doors after the first lockdown ended in 2020.
But last month Boris Johnson set out his roadmap to take the UK out of lockdown, and announced gyms can reopen in stage two on April 12.
Locked-down Brits are keen to get back to the gym and regain their fitness
When are gyms reopening in the UK?
As part of his announcement, the PM said gyms will be allowed to reopen from April 12.
Group exercise classes won't restart again until mid-May when restrictions start lifting for indoor gatherings.
Before gyms open their doors once again, outdoor sports – such as tennis and golf – will be able to return from March 29.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government is prioritising outdoor sports as they are "safer" in terms of spreading coronavirus.
At the time, he had declined to say when gyms would reopen.
What will be the restrictions in place for gyms?
The health and well-being of members and team members "is our number one priority," says David Lloyd.
While operating before the latest lockdown, the sports, health and leisure firm said it was following coronavirus-safe guidance from industry association, UK Active.
David Lloyd published the following Covid restrictions:
- Reduced capacity in gyms, while increasing space between equipment to 2m, as well as adding a one-way system.
- Provided additional gym space, with individual workout areas of 3m x 3m.
- Limited bookings for group exercise classes to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- Reduced the number of swimmers in pools – where people swim at 5m intervals.
- Fewer members are allowed in certain areas at any one time to ensure everyone can practice social distancing.
- Plastic screens introduced to reception desks to protect members and staff.
- Signage and clear floor markings help members to remain a safe distance apart, with staff available to provide support.
UK Active also advises:
- Rigorous cleaning and disinfection procedures to minimise risk of contact transmission.
- Hand wipes/sanitisers on offer at reception.
- Customers should arrive swim or gym ready, to avoid using showers.
- Users should not be working out face-to-face.
Will I need to wear a mask in the gym?
Gym-goers are required to wear a face covering when entering the gym, in communal areas and changing rooms, and when moving around the gym.
This can be removed during exercise.
How long will I be able to stay in the gym for?
Before the third lockdown, Gymgroup recommended members check how busy their gym was through its website.
"To ensure that you get the most out of your experience, we’d recommend that you come down to the gym at a time that is less busy so that you will not need to queue for as long," the group adds.
To keep the number of people exercising at a safe number, and allow social distancing, changes were made to entry measures.
"As soon as someone leaves, you’ll be allowed in," it added.
Puregym has an app which helps people to plan their visit by checking the number of those exercising in the gym, to avoid busy times and queues.
The firm also controls numbers in its gyms to ensure they never get too busy.
Can I train with other people in the gym?
The Gymgroup says members are banned from training with each other, "even if you are from the same household or bubble.
"This is to ensure that there is still plenty of access around the gym, and avoids members from getting too close to one another.
"The only exception to this is for spotting due to health and safety concerns.
"In these circumstances, the spotter must be wearing a face mask. If you do not have a face mask, you should not be spotting."
Will I be able to have personal training sessions?
Personal trainers and fitness instructors across the UK are currently not legally permitted to train clients in any indoor setting while the country is in lockdown.
Many fitness instructors though have taken their business online as well as developing app-based training programmes.
Will the number of people in the gym be restricted?
Gyms will need to restrict the number of those exercising to adhere to Covid social distancing restrictions, and keep members safe.
When lockdown measures were eased in 2020, the government advised that the number of people using the facility at any one time should be limited, for example by using a timed booking system.
Will I need to book to get in the gym?
Gyms will advise people to book sessions ahead of their visit, so premises don't get too busy – while reducing queues.
Will changing facilities be available?
Gymgoers will be recommended to arrive in workout gear to avoid using the changing rooms where possible.
In its advice between lockdowns in 2020, the government said "customers and staff should be encouraged to shower and change at home wherever possible, although changing rooms will be available".
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