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Prime Minister confirms pools reopening timetable will be announced next week

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a timetable for the reopening of swimming pools will be announced next week.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has welcomed the news but urged the details be revealed as soon as possible due to the length of time it takes pools  to prepare for opening doors again.

In a televised press conference, Mr Johnson said: “Swimming pools are still closed and I want those restrictions to be lifted as soon as possible – of course I do.

“We have established task forces to work rapidly and closely with those sectors that remain closed to explore how they can be Covid-secure.

“I’m pleased to report that good progress is being made.

“Next week, we will set out a timetable for their reopening. Of course I can only lift those national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so.

“Our goal remains to enable as many people as possible to live their lives as close to normally as possible in a way which is as fair and as safe as possible.”

Sooner rather than later

Earlier this week, Government and public health officials visited four swimming pools – both indoor and outdoor – to see how facilities are able to operate safely.

Jane said: “While it’s encouraging to hear the Prime Minster say a timetable on when pools can reopen will be announced next week, it’s imperative that it’s sooner rather than later as it takes at least two weeks to get a pool ready for use when it’s been closed for several months.

“Even then, some pools might not reopen at all and we will continue to fight for more Government funding to help those facilities at risk of permanent closure.

“It seems ludicrous that, from 10 July, you can fly abroad to some European countries to swim and return to England without having to quarantine, yet you can’t visit your local pool.

“We’ve worked closely with the Government, Public Health England and medical professionals to create our robust Returning to the Pool guidance, which proves how swimming pools can be safely used.

“The fact we’ve not received any requests to update that guidance following the visits to pools by the Government this week suggests we’re heading in the right direction.

“We know things will be very different to what they used to be but I know our swimmers, divers, artistic swimmers, water polo players, clubs, swim schools plus those who visit pools for exercise, relaxation or to manage health conditions, will adapt to the circumstances.

“We’d encourage everyone to respect the ‘new normal’ when pools are given the go-ahead to reopen.”