Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Open gyms first as we come out of lockdown & fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme

We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.

We're also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.

More details

Gyms are an essential service in underpinning the health of the nation.

Activity levels fell dramatically during 2020 lockdowns, as people could not get to their gym to exercise safely.

The government opened pubs before gyms and spent £500m on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which encouraged unhealthy behaviour in a health crisis.

The virus is more serious for people who are overweight and unfit. The focus this time must be on health and wellbeing and getting people active.

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Government responded

This response was given on 9 February 2021

Sports and leisure facilities are crucial for supporting adults and children to be active. We will promote exercise throughout the pandemic and encourage the use of sports facilities when they reopen

Read the response in full

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we have made sure that people can exercise throughout the national and local tiered restrictions. We will need to raise levels of fitness among the population as we prepare to return to our normal lives, now the vaccination programme has begun.

No government would want to be in a position of needing to close gyms. They give enormous health benefits and are large employers. We could not though allow the healthcare system to be overwhelmed so we were required to introduce the current national lockdown.

The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. All decisions made by the Government relating to the pandemic and sport, including the closure of gyms, have been based on advice from health and scientific experts.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sport clubs have benefited from. On top of wider economic support, the Government has announced a £100m support fund for local authority leisure centres to ensure these important facilities remain available once public health restrictions are lifted.

We will continue to work with partners including Sport England and ukactive to open sports facilities as soon as it is safe to do so and to encourage their usage. On 26 January Sport England published their strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’. As well as promoting the importance of physical activity, the strategy focuses on helping grassroots sport facilities to recover from the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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Petitions Committee requests a revised response from the Government

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) have considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt that the response did not directly address the request of petition and have therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response.

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