Gyms, pools, and leisure facilities are being permitted to re-open under ALL three tiers as the national lockdown is lifted today.

This means that facilities in areas under Tier 3 restrictions can now open, as long as they are following Covid-safe guidelines.

However, unlike in Tiers 1 and 2, gyms and leisure centres in Tier 3 areas, such as East Lancashire, will see notable restrictions. 

Can I go to the gym?

Yes, individuals will be able to visit gyms to exercise, either alone or as part of their social bubble.

However, organised indoor sport – including indoor exercise and dance classes, as well as yoga classes – will not be going ahead.

Saunas and steam rooms also won’t be able to reopen. 

So I can't go to a Zumba, CrossFit or HIIT class?

No, as mentioned above, no indoor classes are permitted under Tier 3 restrictions.

You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in an outdoor public place in groups up to six people. 

What about if the class was held outside?

Outdoor organised sport and exercise classes are allowed to continue, and in line with guidance from sporting national governing bodies, you can take part in organised sport and physical activity outdoors with any number of people.

However, you should avoid contact in training and, for some sports, avoid contact in all activities. 

Are there exemptions?

Yes, similar to Tier 2 regions, indoor disability sports, as well as sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s are exceptions to the restrictions and will be allowed to start up again.

However, the restrictions on indoor exercise classes within Tier 3 has not been taken lightly, with many sporting bodies condemning the decision.

Following the announcement that gyms could stay open in Tier 3 regions, CEO of ukactive, Huw Edwards, issued the following statement: “This announcement shows a positive shift in the Government’s desire to strengthen our nation’s physical and mental resilience by using the gyms and leisure facilities at the heart of our communities.

“However, we are disappointed to note that indoor group exercise is included in tier 3 restrictions and will not be permitted unless in household groups or bubbles, as the sector has proven this activity can be undertaken in a manner that is safe, using a combination of social distancing, sanitisation and increased ventilation.

"We will make representations to the Government and aim to get this changed.

“Reopening in England is clearly a major milestone and the second lockdown has seen our sector mobilise in an incredible way, with facilities and their members lobbying their local representatives to reinforce the evidence that these services are essential and COVID-secure.

“Our sector must continue to make the case for greater support and recognition as an essential service for communities across the UK, and we will continue to challenge the rationale for closing facilities in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Looking forward, the fitness and leisure sector still requires a tailored package of support for its recovery in 2021, including a combination of business rate relief, VAT exemptions, and incentives that not only help to rebuild, but also encourage more people back into physical activity.

“The economic recovery of our sector is inextricably linked with the future of our nation’s health, and this package of support requires increased public health messaging about physical activity, through both the Better Health campaign and the Prime Minister’s obesity strategy.

“Furthermore, we are calling on the Government to conduct a cross-departmental review that provides an accurate analysis of the role the physical activity sector plays in our society, and set clear recommendations for its inclusion in policymaking across government.

“Many of the issues in the Government’s in-tray can be supported by our sector, from mental health conditions, type 2 diabetes, and loneliness, through to the future of our high streets and crime reduction.

“Reopening is a major milestone, but it’s also just a start; we now need to continue our constructive engagement with the Government to secure the support the sector needs and agree a plan that ensures it can play its full role in improving the health and wellbeing of the nation.”