Fitness leaders in the UK have welcomed news that everywhere but Liverpool is currently allowed to remain open under the government's new three-tier COVID-19 control system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement in the House of Commons earlier today (12 October), in which he unveiled the system, which classifies regions as being on medium (tier 1), high (tier 2) or very high (tier 3) alert, with the majority of the country being kept at tiers 1 and 2, whereby gyms can remain open.
However, Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, has slammed the inclusion of gyms in tier 3, saying this move is unjustified.
Edwards said restrictions should be imposed based on "facts and data", with these showing that gyms are safe environments, with strict COVID-19 measures already in place.
As Liverpool is classed as tier 3, gyms there are set to close on Wednesday this week (14th October), along with a raft of other facilities, including pubs, casinos and leisure centres.
“We must avoid what has been announced today in Liverpool, which has seen the unnecessary closure of gyms and leisure centres," says Edwards.
“We will work with immediate effect with Liverpool City Council to review this decision, with the aim of overturning it.
“This decision runs counter to all the evidence provided, threatens permanent closure of facilities and job losses, and will ultimately worsen health inequalities in the region.
“The Government must now commit to working with ukactive and its members as the virus is managed on a devolved and local level, building a structure of consultation and co-operation that delivers local solutions.
“We understand the magnitude of the challenge our political leaders face in trying to combat COVID-19, both at national and local level," Edwards said.
“However, our gyms and leisure centres are proving to be safe, with very low prevalence of COVID-19, and they are also essential in our collective fight to improve the nation’s health.
“Media coverage and commentary this morning on the safety of gyms and leisure centres has been factually inaccurate and grossly misleading, and political leaders need to base decisions on data shared with the Government over the past two months since the sector reopened.
“The Government simply cannot afford to close gyms and leisure centres, as this threatens permanent business failure and job losses.
“Furthermore, closures damage the health of the nation and weaken the public health recovery from COVID-19.
“In this health crisis, our national and local leadership needs these essential facilities more than ever.”
Data from ukactive shows that gyms are continuing to successfully control COVID-19
There were 22 million visits to fitness facilities during the two months following reopening, with the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 visits logged as 0.34, with no community transmission occurring.