5pm tonight: UK Government announcement on reopening gyms 'imminent'

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to announce tonight that gyms will be able to reopen from mid to late-July with strict hygiene and social distancing measures. He is set to announce new guidance for gyms reopening in the UK, after a proposed reopening date of July 4  - alongside pubs and restaurants on 'Super Saturday' - was blocked by the Government.

Since then, the sector has pinned its hopes on July 11, which has not been ruled out by Whitehall sources, with Mr Johnson promising to open gyms "as soon as we can" on a basis that is "Covid-secure".

Dave Capper CEO of Westfield Health, said that the UK's "passion for exercise has grown exponentially during lockdown", and the need for health facilities had "never been greater" for those who have found solace in an active lifestyle as well as those who have become more sedentary during lockdown.

“The impact of lockdown has been profound on the physical and mental of the UK population, and employers are going to have to expect that the demand for access to health facilities will turn to them soon," Mr Capper said.

Industry bosses hit out at the Government on Wednesday for leaving them "forgotten and ignored" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Humphrey Cobbold, Pure Gym's CEO, told the BBC that there has been no stimulus for the sector, which consists of 7,000 operators and 400,000 jobs.

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