The UK government has announced that gyms are set to re-open from 12th April after Boris Johnson unveiled the new four-step exit plan to ease lockdown restrictions last night.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said: “As we come out of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s very important we try to get people who’ve got out of the habit of regular exercise back into a situation where they’re doing so, and encourage others who’ve taken up exercise in a way they previously hadn’t done.
“Exercise is essential to a happy and healthy old age and it’s also extremely important to provide opportunities for those with mental or physical disabilities to be physically active”.
Fitness facilities have only been open for two months in the past year which has had a detrimental impact on people’s physical and mental health.
Chris Jennings, founder of Implexus Gym in Leeds said: “Some people are feeling depressed and anxious to get back open, but we’re looking forward to getting back open.
“We have a lot of athletes in here so looking forward to seeing them getting back in progression and prepare for competitions.”
Gyms will have to implement changes to meet Covid rules, including the addition of hand sanitising stations, spray bottles, and social distancing measures.
The government confirmed that a minimum of 100 square feet (9.29 square metres, or 3.05 metres in each direction) per person must be used when working out a venue’s maximum occupancy.
Chris said: “Sadly independent gyms like ourselves have lost a lot of money, a lot of gyms have closed as well just because they haven’t been able to afford to stay open but I’m really hoping that as a country and as a whole we’re going to be a bit fitter coming out.”
Michael Hall, an amateur boxer, has struggled during the pandemic due to not having access to gym facilities.
He said: “I’ve not been able to compete for nearly a year now, it’s really hard to keep on top of training without gym facilities.”