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Swim England reacts to latest wave of pool closures as tier four restrictions revealed

Swim England has said the decision to close pools in the new tier four areas is ‘heartbreaking but understandable’ – and called for them to be allowed to reopen as soon as restrictions can be eased.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this afternoon announced a new strict set of measures following a surge in cases after the discovery of a new coronavirus strain, which appears to be more contagious.

It means swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms will be forced to close for at least two weeks from 12.01am on Sunday 20 December.

The areas moved into tier four are:

  • Kent
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey
  • Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother & Hastings
  • London
  • Bedford
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Milton Keynes
  • Luton
  • Peterborough
  • Hertfordshire
  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)

Safe and secure environments

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said: “It was very sobering to see the huge spikes in both cases and hospital admissions across London, the East of England and South East England and it is vital that our precious NHS is not overwhelmed.

“It is heartbreaking to see pools once again having to close their doors because we know the impact this will on both the physical and mental health of so many people living in those areas who rely on the water.

“We know pools are safe and secure environments and it’s imperative that they are allowed to reopen as soon as areas move out of tier four.

“While we recognise action is needed to protect the NHS and understand the decision, pools can play a crucial part in ensuring a healthier nation which is vital in the fight against this disease.

“We urge the Government to carefully consider this when carrying out the reviews of the areas in a fortnight.

“We will also be continuing to press for the frustrating ruling which prevents over 18s from training with their clubs in tier three areas to be changed as soon as possible as well.”.