Gyms and leisure centres in Wales won’t open for at least another month, and it’s now likely not all of them will reopen at the same time.
Speaking to WalesOnline ahead of announcing a new five mile rule for Wales , First Minister Mark Drakeford explained what his thinking was for reopening gyms and leisure centres in Wales.
When asked if there was no chance of gyms reopening before April 12 the First Minister said: “I think that is pretty accurate. I will be saying today the things beyond April 12 we will be thinking about. Leisure centres and gyms will be on the list of things that we are thinking about for that second half of April.”
According to the First Minister, gyms will be considered for reopening alongside a potential expansion of social bubbles and reopening outdoor hospitality in the second half of April.
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In previous reopenings all gyms, whether they be a large heath club or a small weightlifting gym, have been treated the same with regard to reopening.
Mr Drakeford said new research may mean this changes.
“I’ve been reading evidence recently that says we shouldn’t treat all gyms the same,” he said. “Up until now that is what we have done, we have treated gyms as a class. We have kept either all of them closed or all of them open. The evidence I have been reading says that gyms that are well ventilated, have large premises and are modern have risks which are at the modest end under spectrum. If they are carefully run the risks can be mitigated.
“Gyms that are small, a bit old-fashioned, have not much ventilation and lots of people close by one another have risks that are likely to be significantly greater. I want to use the weeks ahead to talk with our environmental health officers and the sector to work out if we can have a more differentiated approach to reopening gyms rather than it being all or nothing.”
You can read the full interview with the First Minister here.
At the beginning of February the Welsh Government’s mental health, wellbeing, and Welsh language minister Eluned Morgan said re-opening gyms and fitness facilities would be one of the first things the government will consider when restrictions are reviewed again.