Boris Johnson has revealed plans to reopen gyms and fitness centres in a bid to further ease restrictions of lockdown measures.
This comes following the news that the COVID-19 alert level was reduced from four to three last week.
So far the country has seen drive-in cinemas begin to reopen along with outdoor markets and high-street stores.
Speaking on LBC this morning, the Prime Minister said: “We are going to reopen gyms as soon as we can do it in a COVID- secure way. I think that the date for reopening gyms, at the moment, if we can do it, is in just a couple of weeks time.
“Plans were underway to get theatres back up and running again.”
The culture secretary Oliver Dowden has also eluded to plans for indoor gyms and leisure centres to open up again in the middle of July via Twitter.
“Many people keen to hit the gym and keeping Britain fit is key in COVID battle," he posted.
“We’ve made lots of progress and I know steps businesses have taken to make their spaces and equipment safe.
“Subject to public health, our aspiration is to reopen gyms and leisure facilities in mid-July.”
In the initial government document entitled ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’, released on May 11, gyms and fitness studios had been part of step three of the lockdown exit plan, due to restart on Saturday July 4.
This has since been pushed back, however, due to the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson saying: “Gyms would not be opening soon because of the level of activity that goes on, the number of surfaces that are touched, there’s far greater risk of infection than one where people are stationary.”
The Prime Minister, meanwhile, added: “The business and culture secretaries will establish task forces with public health experts and the sectors to help them become COVID-secure and reopen as soon as possible.”
This delay, however, has sparked widespread criticism of the government, with managing director of GLL Mark Sesnan, who manages 270 leisure facilities, saying: “The Government is ignoring the health of the nation, when it has been proven that conditions such as obesity and diabetes increase the risks associated with COVID-19.”
So, this announcement on gyms and leisure centres comes as pubs and bars are made ready to welcome back customers for the first time in over three months this weekend.
A message that clearly shows that, although the government in the short-term are appearing to look after people’s public health, they are not considering the overall long-term ramifications that this delay may bring.
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