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The Rules You Need to Follow Now Gyms Have Reopened

Annie Hayes
·3-min read
Photo credit: AleksandarGeorgiev - Getty Images
Photo credit: AleksandarGeorgiev - Getty Images

It's the day we've all been waiting for. Marking stage two of the easing of lockdown restrictions, gyms across England flung open their doors this morning for the first time since January 5. Leisure centres, swimming pools, indoor sports courts, climbing walls, outdoor skating rinks, trampoline parks and water parks were also given the green light to open, and one-on-one indoor personal training can now officially commence.

However, a return to the 'before times' this is not. For those yet to cross the threshold, there are a few COVID-19 measures to wrap your head around before hitting the squat rack.

Rules You Have to Follow in the Gym

1/ Working out

First and foremost, you have to go alone, and for the express purpose of working out. People from different households must not deliberately mix there, so it'll be a while yet before you reunite with your gym buddy. This also means that group exercise classes are still banned.

2/ Face masks

Face coverings are still required indoors, but you don't have to wear them while exercising or playing sport – only in communal areas, changing rooms, and when moving around the gym. Your gym is also legally required to have a system in place that records your name and contact details upon entering – for example, the NHS QR code – to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

3/ Changing rooms

The changing rooms can reopen, but saunas and steam rooms are still off-limits for the time being.

Outside of the government-mandated measures, each gym will have its own self-imposed guidelines, so it's worth checking online to familiarise yourself with their specific rules. To adhere to social distancing, some sites may set up an online booking system, introduce one-way walking systems, or impose a one-hour time limit to make sure everyone has a fair crack at working out.

You can also expect to see plenty of hand-sanitising stations, plastic PPE screens at the reception desk, designated exercise 'zones' with a two-metre perimeter, and even contactless entry. Gyms are expected to 'continue rigorous cleaning and disinfection procedures to minimise risk of contact transmission', according to UKActive, along with 'regular cleaning of high-contact touch points throughout the premises'.

We all need to do our bit, too. Sanitise and wipe down the machines after you use them, maintain a two-metre distance from everyone else, and if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 – a temperature, new or persistent cough, and loss of taste or sense of smell – stay at home. After months of relentless lockdown, no one wants to be the reason their local gym shuts down.

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