The Culture Minister Oliver Dowden hosted todays Daily Coronavirus briefing today and announced that many recreational sports and activities are to start reopening from this weekend. Its time to get fit!
(Keep scrolling for the new government guidelines below!)
This weekend, outdoor swimming pools and water parks in England will be open to the public. On the 25th July, gyms and indoor swimming pools open will be allowed to open to the public. businesses will have to make use of time booking systems, smaller class sizes, more spacing in gyms and enhanced cleaning, in an effort to protect customers from COVID19.
Healthcare professionals have previously stated that gyms specifically are a ‘high risk’ area for the spreading of Coronavirus, as the combination of potentially asymptomatic or presymptomatic COVID19 patients with no symptoms and heavy breathing, damp atmosphere providing the good atmosphere for the spread of respiratory viruses. However, swimming pools are said to be much safer areas in terms of the virus transmission, albeit with a lot more rules to follow during the pandemic-era.
The culture secretary made it very clear that all measures are conditional, and reversible if local virus spikes occur. He also uses today’s briefing to give the ‘eat out to help out’ promotion a quick mention; which should keep Tim happy. ( we will hear this every day until August!)
The majority of the press questions Dowden faced from the press threw scorn at him over the BCC’s decision to charge the over 75’s the TV licence fee. Dowden stuck with the government’s policy and made no indication that the fee would be scrapped, or paid by the BBC. The minister was asked whether the PM should be seen wearing a mask when out and about. The MP deflected the question by saying there is a range of measures that can be used to mitigate; however many will see this as another case as there being a different rule for us as there is to them.
Measures set out in the guidance include:
- Limiting the number of people using the facility at any one time, for example by using a timed booking system;
- Reducing class sizes and allowing sufficient time between each class to avoid groups waiting outside during changeover;
- Ensuring an appropriate number of people are in a swimming pool at any one time;
- Spacing out equipment or taking some out of service to maintain social distancing;
- Enhanced cleaning and providing hand sanitizer throughout venues;
- Considering how the way people walk through their venue could be adjusted to reduce contact, with queue management or one-way systems;
- Ensuring adequate ventilation;
- Encouraging the use of outdoor spaces for individual, team or group activities, making sure to comply with the latest restrictions on public gatherings;
- Exercise or dance studios should have temporary floor markings where possible to help people stay distanced during classes;
- Customers and staff should be encouraged to shower and change at home wherever possible, although changing rooms will be available.
Dowden said “Our comprehensive guide will ensure gyms, pools and leisure centres have the support they need to reopen safely for their customers and staff.
“Helping people return to gyms safely will also help the nation get match-fit to defeat this virus.”
It seems that Oliver Dowden and his Government ‘advisor’ could be ignoring that coronavirus has and can kill people, no matter how fit they are. This rush to get people ‘fighting fit’, has a strong chance of doing a lot more harm than good.