Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres reopening in Wales from Monday

7 August 2020, 01:01

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools are set to reopen in Wales on Monday
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools are set to reopen in Wales on Monday. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres will reopen in Wales on Monday, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

Indoor fitness studios and children's indoor play areas will also be free to open their doors back up to customers from next week.

However, some facilities that are difficult to clean, such as ball pits, will be required to remain shut in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It comes just a week after restaurants and pubs in Wales were given the green light to reopen for the first time since lockdown measures were introduced in March.

The Welsh Government added it is "continuing to explore" the possibility of allowing people from separate extended households to meet indoors from 15 August.

Read more: Up to 30 people can meet outdoors in Wales as lockdown restrictions eased

Read more: Hotels, cinemas and museums to reopen in Wales amid relaxation of lockdown

Meanwhile, local authorities will be given extra powers to ensure businesses affected by the new regulations adhere to them.

These will include making sure people maintain two-metre social distancing where possible and putting in place measures that will limit close interaction, such as using protective screens, improving hygiene, and wearing face coverings on public transport.

Enforcement officers will be allowed to issue a Premises Improvement Notice to highlight breaches of the rules and state what needs be done for the business to comply with them or face being temporarily closed down.

Signs will be displayed in a prominent place for businesses or workplaces that are given a Premises Closure Notice informing the public that improvement is needed or that it has had to close.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said following the rules was "essential" if the country was to avoid following other parts of the world into a second lockdown.

Read more: Indoor pubs and restaurants reopen, Welsh First Minister confirms

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He said: "As more parts of our society and economy reopen, it is vital we all keep in mind our personal responsibility to do the right thing and make sure we continue to protect ourselves and others from the virus.

"This means keeping a two-metre distance from others, washing our hands often and wearing a face mask on public transport. These are simple steps to take that benefit us all.

"The rules we have in place are not optional, they are there to protect us all. They are essential if Wales is to avoid another lockdown."

He added: "As we have seen in many places around the world, this pandemic is far from over and we must remain vigilant. There is a significant risk that cases in Wales could rise again and we will have to take further action if this were to happen.

"Only by us all continuing to do our part can we keep Wales safe."

On Thursday, Public Health Wales confirmed a further three people had died after testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths in the country to 1,571.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in the country increased by 15, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 17,389.

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