What date are gyms reopening and how will social distancing work?

With multiple people sharing equipment every hour, gyms are hotspots for germs and bacteria.

So it makes sense that UK gyms – along with restaurants, bars and shops – were forced to close in March, to limit the spread of coronavirus.

As a result, people have found new ways of working out, from online classes to outdoor workouts – while some gym chains have also been delivering virtual exercise sessions during lockdown.

But when can you expect to get back in the gym for your regular workout?

When will gyms reopen in the UK?

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No official date has been given for the re-opening of gyms, with suggestions they could be one of the last places to re-open as lockdown is eased.

However, gym chain David Lloyd re-opened at the weekend with some socially distanced outdoor classes as well as re-opening its outdoor facilities – while personal trainers can also resume work, provided they train with no more than five people at a time and in an outdoor session with social distancing in place.

Meanwhile, according to a recent report in the Guardian, gyms and leisure centres could reopen in July, as the government is currently discussing wider proposals to open up grassroots sport.

A government source has said that while any changes to current restrictions are dependent on the wider UK picture, there has been a shift in thinking and that guidelines from UK gyms were now being actively considered by officials.

Huw Edwards, the chief executive of UK Active (a company which represents thousands of gyms and leisure centres) has revealed he is cautiously optimistic the industry could be back in action by summer. 

He said: ‘We want to open in a way which is safe for staff and customers, allows people to come back and train, and then gets businesses up and running again.

‘The government has said to us nothing before the fourth of July. Our plan is to take government and Public Health England officials out to sites to reassure them that gyms can safely implement social distancing. We are going to be a completely open book.’

It’s thought that football and rugby clubs could also be allowed to train together in separate groups of five in July, too. That is, if the rate of infections continues to fall and public health officials say it’s safe to do so. 

But those wanting to play contact sports – such as rugby or boxing – will have to wait until later in the year, when it’s announced safe to do so.

How will social distancing measures work at gyms?

Although details of social distancing measures have yet to be revealed, Sport England has said that they could include keeping two metres between all gym equipment on studio space, social distancing in changing rooms and a ban on towels on the gym floor, as well as increased cleaning of equipment such as weights.

In some countries where gyms have re-opened measures have included smaller class sizes and holding some of them outdoors, as well as more space between machines and in some cases, perspex screens placed between each piece of equipment.

Some gyms in the US and elsewhere are also checking people’s temperatures before they are allowed to enter.

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