With new restrictions about to be announced, we take a look at what it means for gyms and fitness centres up and down the UK
Whether you hoped it wouldn’t happen or if you knew it was always coming, the so-called ‘second wave’ of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) has arrived in the United Kingdom and, with it, the subsequent government plans to combat it that could likely result in further lockdowns and restrictions.
With countless rumours now circulating the media, strong predictions have arrived in the form of a three-tier system being put in place. To put it simply, this ‘tiered’ approach has been created to treat surge in infections in specific areas, based on the rate of coronavirus transmission, throughout the UK.
The higher the rate of transmission in your area, the tighter the measures. Fewer cases, on the other hand, will mean fewer restrictions. Although it’s important to note that the area and the restrictions – and subsequent tier system – can change, for better or for worse.
Here’s how the tiered system works, along with the covid-19 alert levels and what it could mean to the gyms and health centres in your area.
Cases are appearing every day and transmission rates in all areas across the UK are constantly being monitored. However, it’s clear that certain parts in the north of the England currently have higher rates than anywhere else, specifically Liverpool and areas of Manchester. In the week ending 6 October, Liverpool recorded 600 cases per 100,000 people – the average for England was 74.
You can check you area by clicking here: How many cases and deaths in my area?
There’s an ongoing debate among health experts, government minsters and council representatives about the sectors where the transmission rate is growing fastest and how much of an impact closing down certain areas of society will have on the spread.
Many statistics state that hospitality and gyms are relatively low risk and that it’s schools and universities reopening that have had the biggest impact on positive cases. However, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that there is “academic evidence” to show there is “quite a high risk associated with hospitality settings.”
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, an area thought to be put into Tier 3, said he objected to gyms being closed as part of the new restrictions. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “People going to gyms don’t go there unless they are kitted out ready to go on the machines, and the machines are socially distanced so people can’t make human contact.
“And when they leave the gym, they [the exercise machines] are disinfected and sprayed so personally I don’t see the reason for that to happen.”
Recent research has also shown that gyms and the rate of transmission is statistically insignificant. Industry body, ukactive, collected data from more than 1,300 gyms, health clubs and leisure centres to analyse the prevalence of the virus within the sector’s facilities.
Reporting the three weeks from reopening (25 July to 16 August), the data reveals that there were more than eight million visits to fitness facilities. From the data, only 17 people visiting gyms in England went on to test positive for covid-19, resulting in 0.020 cases for every 10,000 visits.
According to ukactive, “this sample shows an extremely low prevalence of COVID-19 among people who visit gyms and leisure facilities. “Our sector has worked tireless[ly] to demonstrate its safety to the public and this new evidence helps us prove that these efforts are paying dividends.”
With cases and situations changing all the time, and without clear data, it really is impossible to say how safe certain sectors are more than others. Until then, like you, we have to listen and adhere to the government’s advice. If that means our gyms will be closed, remember this: we are all in it together and you can rely on us to provide the best home workouts, training plans and exercise advice, created by the best trainers in the country.
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Coronavirus, Leisure centre, Lockdown
World news – GB – How Will the COVID-19 Three Tier System Impact Gyms?