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18 June 2020, 16:54 | Updated: 18 June 2020, 16:56
Oliver Dowden announced that 'normal fitness activities' may possibly return soon, but when will UK gyms be open again?
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden announced at last night's (June 17) daily Downing Street briefing that leisure centres and 'all the other normal fitness activities' may be next to open, following the reopening of non-essential shops on June 15.
Following the initial six-week coronavirus lockdown review, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the new 50-page ‘blueprint' document titled Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, which gives a detailed look into plans to ease the lockdown.
Along with the strategy, he addressed the nation on Sunday, May 10, where he revealed that the British public would now be permitted to do ‘unlimited exercise’ during the day, whereas before it was suggested to only leave the house once a day for exercise, for roughly an hour.
But when will gyms be allowed to reopen?
Oliver Dowden said he was happy that an 'important milestone' had been reached after we saw the return of Premier League football, which had taken a pause for 100 days.
However, he recognised that 'people are itching' to get back to their regular fitness practices, announcing that leisure centres and fitness activities will reopen at the 'start of July at the very earliest'.
This comes after the 50-page document lockdown exit document explained that England would see primary schools, nurseries and some shops reopening this month.
July 4th was announced as the preliminary date in which the 'third phase’ of easing lockdown could take place, which would see hairdressers, places of worship and cinemas reopen.
However, the government is yet to confirm for certain when gyms can be opened again as the risk of spreading infection is high during workouts or in changing rooms.
A rumoured 'leaked draft' of the lockdown document had initially circulated on Twitter, prior to Boris Johnson's speech, with claims that gyms could be reopened in Autumn.
The rumour claimed: "October - Possible return of football fans to matches. Gyms could be allowed to re-open. But any further lifting of restrictions to get back to normal life would be in doubt amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus or an outbreak of seasonal flu," however, this was not confirmed by the Prime Minister, and still stands as speculation.
Sports can, instead, be played outdoors, as Boris Johnson said: "We want to encourage more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.
"You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own households,” but reiterated that social distancing measures must remain in place.
Oliver Dowden took to Twitter at the time to explain which sports are more social distance-friendly.
He wrote: "In recent weeks, our daily exercise has been so important to our health & wellbeing.
"Now in tentative steps fwd, & in the least risky outdoor environments, we can imminently allow some sports activity like golf, basketball, tennis, fishing - solo/in households. Guidance to follow [sic].”
Ultimately, people have been safely doing exercise outdoors or doing home workouts to keep fit.