Birmingham gyms to close as new national lockdown enforced
Gyms across the country and set to close following the prime minister’s announcement of a fresh lockdown across England, responding to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Boris Johnson yesterday announced all non-essential businesses will have to close again to curb coronavirus cases, which includes leisure and entertainment venues.
While some gym bosses have urged the government to reclassify gyms as ‘essential services’, regulations for the second national lockdown mean gyms, hairdressers and barbers will be forced to close from Thursday 5 November.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference yesterday evening, PM Boris Johnson said, “The virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of our scientific advisers”.
Outlining plans for public indoor spaces to close across England, he added, “I’m afraid non essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed, though click and collect services will continue and essential shops will remain open.
“Pubs, bars, restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery services.”
Leisure centres and sports facilities will close across the country, including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, soft play facilities, archery and shooting ranges, climbing walls and climbing centres, stables and riding centres, along with water and theme parks.
Exercise and recreation outdoors, however, will be permitted. The exception means people can meet with one other person from a different household in an outdoor space such as a park, and can also exercise with this person.
Many gyms will have to close only weeks after re-opening with special safety and social distancing measures in place.
Management at PureGym, who have 11 branches in Birmingham and the Black Country, informed their members of the changes earlier today.
In a statement, the company said, “Following the announcement yesterday by the Government of a short lockdown, all of our gyms in England will close at 10pm on Wednesday 4th November for 4 weeks. Your gym remains open until then for you to workout.
“We expect to reopen the gym at the end of the lockdown period on Wednesday 2nd December. We will be ready to welcome you back, for a safe and a great workout, and will be in touch with all the details at the end of November.
“Thanks to the many safety measures we have put in place, and with all members and staff working together, gyms have been proven to have very low levels of virus transmission. And when we come back we will continue to make gyms a safe place to work and a safe place to workout for everyone.”
The company went on to encourage its members to maintain their “physical and mental wellbeing” during the lockdown and has offered them free home workouts via their mobile app. In line with many other fitness centres, PureGym has promised to freeze membership fees until the lockdown is over and they are able to re-open.
The Gym group, which has nine branches in Birmingham, will also close their clubs in England at 10pm on Wednesday.
Gyms and leisure facilities are not the only public services affected by the new lockdown measures.
Within the hospitality industry, pubs, bars, restaurants, and non-essential shops will also have to close, while takeaways, deliveries, and click-and-collect services will remain in place. These venues and businesses such as gyms will therefore close the night before on Wednesday evening (4 November).
Similar to the first lockdown in March, people will be only allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons such as essential work, medical reasons, for essential shopping, and to provide care for the vulnerable. However, this time around people may also attend educational establishments including nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.
The new lockdown rules will come into force from Thursday 5 November, subject to Parliamentary approval next week, and will last for one month until December 2. However, the government hasn’t ruled out an extended lockdown after this date with Michael Gove suggesting this morning that restrictions could continue well beyond the December deadline.
What are the new restrictions?
- People must stay at home except for specific reasons including work which cannot be done from home, childcare or education, exercise outdoors, medical reasons, essential shopping
- Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities will not have to close
- People may also leave their home when providing care for a vulnerable people, for volunteering, and when visiting members of their support bubble
- Meeting indoors or in private gardens is banned, but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in a public place, such as a park
- Non-essential retail outlets will close, but can remain open for click-and-collect delivery
- Pubs, bars and restaurants must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery (except takeaway of alcohol)
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities including gyms and swimming pools will close, including entertainment venues and beauty salons and spas
- Places of worship will close, except when used for funerals, online worship, individual prayer, formal childcare or vital services such as food banks or blood donation drives
- Construction sites and manufacturing workplaces can remain open
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies won’t be allowed except in exceptional circumstances, with funerals limited to a maximum of 30 people
- Children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated
- Clinically vulnerable people will be asked to be “especially careful” but people will not be asked to resume shielding
- Holidays, overnight stays and staying in a second home is not allowed (in the UK and abroad, except for essential work)
- People must avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport