I’ve got to admit that COVID-19 scares me, because if I catch it my chance of surviving it is around 20% for one simple reason.
Obesity. Turns out it really is one of the factors that makes it a lot worse. Like a lot of other people I’m carrying extra weight – so much in fact it’s now dangerous.
That’s why I’m pleased the gyms and swimming pools are starting to open from tomorrow.
Yeah alright, you’ve got to book in advance, and yeah it’s going to be a very different experience (e.g. capacity management in all spaces), but you know what – this is the moment to use these facilities to put yourself in good shape to fight COVID-19 if you catch it.
Not just COVID either. Turns out being fit and healthy helps you fight other illnesses and diseases too. COVID was a brush too close for my liking.
Therefore I was genuinely pleased to join the Deputy Mayor Julian Grubb and representatives from Rubicon Leisure today to tour their work at the Abbey Stadium Sports Centre ahead of tomorrow’s reopening.
They’re ready. Boy are they ready. They’ve put a lot of work in to keep everyone safe. The whole site has undergone a full viral deep clean and internal decoration. When I say clean I mean CLEAN. The place is sparkling!
But you’ve got to work with them too – it’s on all of us to each take responsibility and be responsible.
The same applies to the obesity problem. There’s people out there working hard to help us, but we’ve got to help ourselves. Me included. Me especially.
I am conscious and aware of my role to set a good example, and I fully intend to do so. Please feel free to join me on this journey – I’d love to hear your stories and I’d love to hear how we can all work together to make Redditch healthier because today ‘healthier’ also means ‘safer’.
For the latest updates, what to expect and how to book check the link below
Outdoor pools can reopen to the public from 11 July followed by indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres on 25 July.
The Government has outlined the measures that will allow outdoor pools to reopen from 11 July and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities to reopen from 25 July, ensuring millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities.
The guidance, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has been compiled with input from the trade body ukactive, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Sport England and other sports bodies, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
It includes advice for providers of pool, gym and leisure facilities on cleaning, social distancing, and protection for staff to help venues get back up and running safely.
It also supports the re-opening of sports halls which are vital to the return of play for many sports, including badminton and volleyball. Guidance produced by National Governing Bodies will complement the government guidance and help ensure indoor sports can be played safely from July 25.
Venues must ensure they can enable customers, staff and volunteers to maintain social distancing before, during and after participation.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
The reopening of gyms is the news millions across the country have been waiting for with many people desperate to jump on a spinning bike or dive into a pool.
Our comprehensive guidance will ensure gyms, pools and leisure centres have the support they need to reopen safely for their customers and staff.
Helping people return to gyms safely will also help the nation get match-fit to defeat this virus.
Measures set out in the guidance include:
Limiting the number of people using the facility at any one time, for example by using a timed booking system;
Reducing class sizes and allowing sufficient time between each class to avoid groups waiting outside during changeover;
Ensuring an appropriate number of people are in a swimming pool at any one time;
Spacing out equipment or taking some out of service to maintain social distancing;
Enhanced cleaning and providing hand sanitizer throughout venues;
Considering how the way people walk through their venue could be adjusted to reduce contact, with queue management or one-way systems;
Ensuring adequate ventilation;
Encouraging the use of outdoor spaces for individual, team or group activities, making sure to comply with the latest restrictions on public gatherings;
Exercise or dance studios should have temporary floor markings where possible to help people stay distanced during classes;
Customers and staff should be encouraged to shower and change at home wherever possible, although changing rooms will be available.
Today’s announcement follows a recent visit by government, Sport England and public health officials, led by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, to a series of ukactive member sites. This allowed officials to see first-hand how the sector is preparing to reopen safely.
Leisure centres and indoor gyms, along with swimming pools and other indoor sports facilities, have been closed since Saturday 21 March as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Rules on exercise were initially relaxed from 14 May, to allow people greater access to local, outdoor physical activity. This allowed the public to go outside for unlimited exercise, alone or with their household, or one other person while adhering to social distancing rules. It also permitted outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts to reopen, with strict safety measures in place.
On 1 June the Government published guidance which allowed people to exercise outside with up to five others from different households, provided that strict social distancing guidelines were followed. This meant that people who play team sports could meet to train together and take part in conditioning or fitness sessions, although anything involving physical contact was not allowed. It allowed parents to accompany their children to coaching sessions carried out on a one to one basis or in small groups.
Outdoor gyms were permitted to reopen from 4 July while ensuring social distancing.
This latest guidance is part of the Government’s carefully-designed package to ease the burdens of lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate, the average number of secondary infections produced by 1 infected person, down. The phased approach is outlined in the Prime Minister’s roadmap for easing lockdown. As the Prime Minister has always said, the Government keeps these measures under review, and will not hesitate to apply the handbrakes if required.
Performing arts can now take place outdoors from 11 July with a socially distanced audience present, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced today.
This means that outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can resume from Saturday so long as they take place outside and with a limited and socially distanced audience. This gives the green light for the likes of outdoor opera at Glyndebourne, Sussex and plays at Cornwall’s Minack Theatre, to go ahead. London’s West End will also return through the Six, The Musical Drive-In.
The five stages of the phased return to professional performing arts is as follows:
Stage One – Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
Stage Two – Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
Stage Three – Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience from July 11. We will now also work with the sector to get small pilots started as soon as possible and will set out further details in due course.
Stage Four – Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
Stage Five – Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)
The Government will also work with the sector to pilot a number of small indoor performances with a social distanced audience to help inform plans about how best to get indoor venues back up and running.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working alongside sector bodies including UK Theatre, the Association of British Orchestras and the Musicians’ Union to identify suitable pilots. This will include working with London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s as well as the London Palladium and Butlins amongst others.
A change in planning rules will also mean theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues will be protected from demolition or change of use by developers, stopping those that have been made temporarily vacant during lockdown disappearing altogether and giving extra security to these businesses as they start to re-open.
Today’s announcements follows the government’s announcement of £1.57 billion of funding for the arts, culture and heritage sector earlier this week, the biggest ever one off investment in these industries.
New guidance, published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport today, will help performing arts organisations, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe.
The guidance follows the government’s five-stage roadmap outlining how we will get audiences back into performing arts venues. It provides advice on all aspects of performance, from casting, sound and lighting, costume and fitting, to cloakrooms, orchestra pits, hair and make-up.
Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments will be permitted in a managed and controlled professional working environment to minimise risk.
The Secretary of State has also commissioned a scientific study on the risks associated with singing and brass instruments which will be done in partnership with Public Health England, professional musicians from the Royal Opera House and the BBC and scientists from Imperial College, London and Bristol University. This will help inform our work on getting the performing arts fully back up and running safely, by testing what can be done safely.
The guidance makes clear that the following measures should be considered to allow for safe resumption of performances:
A reduction in venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing can be maintained
All tickets must be purchased online and venues are encouraged to move towards e-ticketing for help with track and trace
Venues should have clearly communicated social distancing marking in place in areas where queues form and adopt a limited entry approach *. Increased deep cleaning of auditoriums
Performances should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake deep cleaning before the next audience arrives
Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups or in front of an audience is limited to professionals only
Performers, conductors, musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
Our culture, heritage and arts are too precious to lose. That’s why we’re protecting venues like theatres from redevelopment if they fall on hard times.
We are also giving further clarity on restart dates in our roadmap back to performance. From July 11 we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing and we are working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can, following pilots. Our scientific research project will also help speed up this journey.
Combined with our £1.57bn rescue package, this is a comprehensive plan to help our brilliant arts organisations weather the covid storm and bounce back stronger.
Housing and Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick said:
The UK has a leading cultural industry that is the envy of the world. Our theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues are one of the reasons that the country has this reputation and they are essential to our national culture. That’s why we are protecting them for the enjoyment of future generations.
Alongside the £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions, I am ensuring the buildings that represent these institutions can’t be destroyed and are properly protected in the planning system.
All venues will be instructed to produce risk assessments and review their cleaning regimes, however deep cleaning and social distancing systems, including floor markings are all required to be completed in a way that does not damage the historic fabric of any listed buildings.
The guidance is part of the government’s clear, phased approach to recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, as outlined in the Prime Minister’s roadmap.