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Petition Allow gyms and leisure centres to reopen

The goal is to get the government to rethink their decision to close gyms and leisure centres and to come to an agreement to reopen them. As myself and many people rely on gym as part of therapy or a source of happiness I think it would be beneficial for all to reopen them.

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We want the government to change its decision and allow gyms and leisure centres across the UK to reopen. This is because people rely on these facilities to reach their goals of fitness. Shutting gyms limits opportunities to exercise which could affect people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

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Government responded

This response was given on 13 May 2020

The Government recognises the importance of physical activity to the nation’s wellbeing and is working with the leisure sector to reopen facilities as soon as possible in a safe and controlled way.

The Government recognises the importance of physical activity to the nation’s health and wellbeing and is working with the gym and leisure sector to reopen facilities as soon as possible in a safe and controlled way. Government’s first priority is to ensure that Covid-19 is brought under control and that actions it takes do not undermine efforts to protect public health.

Government is in discussions with a range of sports organisations, including the gym and leisure sector, about the actions that would need to be taken to restart grassroots sport and reopen facilities in a safe way. It has asked sport and physical activity organisations to consider what steps they would need to take, and guidance they would need to develop, to allow this to happen. This will be used to support the government’s decision-making around future public health guidelines.

This is not straightforward. There are many issues to consider, including how gyms could reopen and operate whilst meeting social distancing guidelines, how access in and out of facilities may need to be changed, whether facilities will have enough workers to operate safely and effectively, and whether people will be willing to come back to gyms if they do reopen. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy is also considering what guidance is needed on how workplaces can operate effectively and safely once the lockdown starts to ease.

The Government has also published updated guidance on grassroots sport which sets out information on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation. This includes further details for members of the public on how they can take unlimited exercise outside, and on the steps that outdoor facilities need to take to re-open, should they wish to do so, from Wednesday 13 May. As part of this, people will be able to exercise outdoors one-on-one with a personal trainer, providing that social distancing is maintained.

Government is clear that keeping people physically active is very important for a large number of reasons, including physical and mental health. However, as the government has made clear, the overwhelming priority of its plan for addressing the next phase of the virus is to keep the country safe. As such, a return to physical activity and grassroots sport, including reopening gyms and leisure centres will need to be done in a way that is: consistent with public health guidelines; minimises risk to participants and volunteer and staff; communicated clearly and consistently with guidance consistent across different sports and activities to reduce the risk of confusion; flexible so that arrangements can be altered and adapted if restrictions or public health advice is changed.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

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