Swim England

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‘Common sense has prevailed’ as leisure centres get green light to reopen

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson believes ‘common sense has prevailed’ after leisure centres and gyms in Merseyside were given the green light to reopen.

The Government last week unveiled a three-tier system to help tackle the spread of coronavirus and the Liverpool region was the first to be placed under the very-high restrictions.

Measures that were announced in Liverpool saw leisure centres and gyms shutting, pubs and bars closing unless serving a substantial meal, no households mixing indoors or outdoors and essential travel only.

Jane said at the time that action was need to help combat the spread of the virus but ‘closing swimming pools and leisure centres was not the answer’ and it would be a ‘short-sighted decision’ to do so.

However, when tier three measures were imposed on Lancashire, leisure facilities were allowed to stay open.

Now it has been confirmed that Liverpool’s leisure centres and gyms will be able to reopen from Friday 23 October – the day when Greater Manchester has tier three restrictions imposed on it.

It is understood that discussions will still be held between local and central government leaders about what restrictions will be put in place when areas are moved into tier three.

However, Jane has urged any region moving into the very high risk category to follow the example in the north west and keep leisure facilities open.

She said: “We’re delighted to see that common sense has prevailed and leisure centres are being allowed to reopen across the Liverpool region.

Lifeline to so many

“It was frustrating to see them closed in the first place as research has shown that the prevalence of coronavirus in these settings is extremely low.

“These facilities are a lifeline to so many, especially in the current climate when our physical and mental health needs to be at its peak.

“We would encourage any local authorities that are moved into tier three to follow this example and ensure vital leisure facilities remain open.

“Many are still struggling to cope with the impact of the first national lockdown and future enforced closures could result in us losing more facilities for good.

“That’s something we’re desperate to avoid happening. The Government’s £100 million fund to help those leisure centres most in need is certainly welcomed but we’ll continue to fight for additional investment to secure the long-term future of facilities.”