With fears that gyms may be among the last areas of the economy to reopen ukactive has published the recommended operational framework for gyms, leisure centres and the wider fitness industry to reopen safely in the UK – once they are permitted to do so by the Government.
The framework has been reviewed by independent medical experts and ukactive’s Scientific Advisory Board to ensure that fitness and leisure operators base their operational decisions on the best possible scientific evidence and guidance.
The letter describes exercise as a “wonder drug” and “a key part of the answer”, the former paralympian said the evidence showing the role that fitness plays in physical and mental wellbeing is “absolutely irrefutable”.
“It is well known and supported by research that general good health – of which physical activity and fitness is a key part – is essential for a healthy immune system that can help people fight viruses such as Covid-19.”
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said:
“The timeline for reopening gyms and leisure centres has not yet been confirmed and ukactive continues to work with the Government on this important issue.
“We hope the development of this framework provides the Government with the support it needs as it plans the reopening of our sector.
“It will also offer crucial support to our members as they plan their emergence from lockdown by putting the safety of members and staff first.
“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 is 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.”