The fitness sector has been left "without answers or evidence" on why gyms and leisure centres should remain closed in Scotland – while facilities are allowed to operate in the other three UK home nations.
On 31 July, gyms, health clubs and swimming pools in Scotland were given an "indicative" date of 14 September for a possible re-opening – but the ambiguity and lack of reasoning behind the late date has angered the sector.
Steven Scales, client services director at industry body, ukactive, said the organisation had been working together with the Scottish government on plans to reopen – but that it too had received little explanation on the reasoning why gyms remain closed.
“We understand the myriad of challenges Scotland is facing, however, the Government must provide clarity for our sector at this critical time," Scales said.
"Facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have reopened safely and are already working to support their communities in improving physical and mental resilience and recovery from this terrible virus.
“We have been working closely with the Scottish Government on the recommended framework for reopening and we hope this leads to the imminent publication of its official guidance to allow our sector to prepare well for reopening.
“However, our sector is yet to receive any details of the evidence or reasoning for the delay to reopening, despite offering site visits to health experts and Government officials.
“The longer these answers are delayed, the greater the uncertainty and the threat of permanent closure to more than 1,000 leisure facilities, which also risks tens of thousands of jobs.
“The Scottish Government must now provide a clear roadmap to support our sector, helping businesses to make informed decisions about the future of their facilities.
“With the Scottish Government reviewing the reopening timelines on 20 August, we continue to demonstrate how facilities are safe to reopen earlier than the existing date of 14 September, and how they have already done so with great success in other nations."
Scottish First minister Nicola Sturgeon hasn't exactly endeared herself to the fitness industry, by previously branding gyms as "hotbeds for transmission". Her remarks resulted in ukactive inviting Sturgeon to visit a gym
to see for herself the measures in place to keep members and staff safe.