16th October 2020
FITNESS AND LEISURE CENTRES MUST STAY OPEN
As Government prepares to tighten restrictions in more parts of the country bosses in the fitness and leisure sector are shocked at this week’s inconsistent and unclear guidance.
Glenn Earlam, Chief Executive of Europe’s leading leisure and fitness group, David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) said today “We are shocked that there is further confusion after both the Prime Minister and the Health Minister committed to trust councils to make the local decision to keep open vital leisure facilities in Tier 3 areas in the announcements on Monday. But by the time the written guidance came out the next day this had changed to state that gym and leisure centres must close, without any apparent justification or consultation. We are a major sector and employer playing a vital role in helping the nation to cope and keep fit – both mentally and physically – through these difficult times. The value and benefits of good leisure facilities available to a wide cross section is unquestioned, and we are now seeking urgent clarification on this issue. Leisure clubs and facilities must remain available, particularly as we move into winter - closing them will have a catastrophic effect on the nation’s health and wellbeing, not just on the industry and the jobs it provides.”
• Leisure and fitness centres are SAFE
o Data shows that incidents of Covid-19 cases throughout the health and fitness sector continue to remain very low, at just 0.72 per 100,000 visits in England, with not a single known in-club transmission.
o Restaurants are one of the highest settings for Covid exposure at nearly 10%, along with shopping centres at 3.4% both of which remain open, compared with just 1.4% in gyms
o Covid-19 safety measures have been strictly adhered to and robust safety measures are in place across the sector
o Member entry procedures ensures 100% Test and Trace data is maintained across our clubs
You are safer at your gym or leisure centre than you are undertaking almost any other daily activity.
• Leisure & fitness centres are ESSENTIAL
o Research shows that leisure and fitness activities aid both mental and physical well being – they provide solace and practical support to all including those living alone and experiencing greatest isolation
o SAGE advised Government that closure of gyms would have ‘low to medium impact’ on the spread of the virus but risks harming people’s mental and physical health.
o Organised exercise has huge beneficial effects on mental health
o The gym is one of the places people can safely go on their own and be a part of a community
o Exercise is shown to strengthen the immune system – helping to protect against virus infections – such as flu and Covid-19.
Well over 300,000 people have already signed a petition demanding that Government listen to the industry and show they recognise the benefits to mental and physical health that these centres represent.
Earlam concluded; “We demand that the industry’s voice is heard and that this confusion is clarified immediately. The nation needs to stay healthy to fight this pandemic – and our industry is a key player in helping to make this possible.”
Sources: Public Health England, SAGE and UKActive.