The Government has announced that indoor gyms and pools can now be reopened from 25th July in England. Aside from social distancing, what changes can we expect?
Well we’re here to answer your questions in one simple, easy to follow guide. The Government Guidelines on gyms reopening are out, but we don’t know exactly what changes and rules there will be until we see each gym for ourselves.
Still, we can certainly expect a lot of changes that will make our first visit back to the gym a little bit different.
Before you arrive
Before you head back, check out your gym’s action plan to see what has changed. There may be limited opening hours, classes and capacity, so it is worth having a look online before you go. You might not be able to just rock up like before.
Gyms are also encouraging you to go at quieter times: Pure Gym, for example, has got their own app so you can see how many people are signed in.
To allow more people to use the gym as well, you might only be allowed in for a certain amount of time, so plan out your workout to make the most of your time.
Also, make sure to change into your kit before you arrive. A lot of gyms are trying to minimise people using changing rooms and maximise social distancing. You’re not allowed to bring any sweat towels either — the gym should have disposable wipes for you to clean equipment instead.
This might seem obvious to some, but if you have any symptoms at all, you shouldn’t be heading to the gym. Look after yourself and others by staying at home.
At the door
If you head out to the gym, you might see that
- Lobbies have a one-person rule
- Doors are contactless entry (so no touching keypads)
- People are getting remote temperature checks so if anyone has a temperature, they can be sent home
Entrance pods might be used to stop people entering if the gym is at full capacity too, so the door is going to play an important role in controlling the reopen.
In the gym: social distancing and floor space
This is going to be the most important part of heading back to the gym: the gym itself. From the layout to the ventilation to any protective barriers that will be used, all of this could make a huge difference to how safe it is. According to some gyms like The Gym Group, some exercise machines will be moved or removed entirely from their gyms.
Here are some new additions you might find in your local gym after it reopens:
There may be markings to keep you social distancing and going in the right direction.
Perspex screens might be used by your gym between treadmills and other machines.
You might even get a large screen to keep those larger areas and pieces of equipment protected.
Gym equipment placed 2m apart
You’re not the only one socially distancing: the equipment will be too. This should be mandatory among all gyms.
Masks & gloves
Staff may be wearing masks and you may be encouraged to do so, but this is your personal choice, as is the use of gloves.
Changing rooms and showers
Changing rooms should be available but gyms are discouraging you from using them if possible. The Government is also heavily discouraging the use of showers but neither have been outright banned.
What about your spin or yoga class? Are they going ahead too?
Not necessarily. Some classes are starting but many classes using shared equipment (such as yoga) might not be up and running yet.
The ones that do may be shorter and smaller, so that the rooms can be effectively cleaned between classes and to avoid people hanging around together outside.
For this reason, classes will have at least a 10-minute window between them. They will also have temporary floor markings to show you where to go too.
You may also need to book online in advance but some socially distanced classes could still be going ahead, so get excited to get back to group workouts.
In the pool
According to the Government, there is no evidence that Covid can spread through pools. Pools may be safe due to disinfectants used such as chlorine but we don’t necessarily know yet.
If you do try out the pool, you will still need to socially distance. Lanes will probably be more spaced out to adhere to this. There will probably be fewer people in the pool at once, and again you may need to book in advance. Try to arrive wearing your kit and avoid using the showers too.
Cleanliness is going to be a major factor in keeping safe while back at the gym, so you will definitely see a lot more people wiping down the equipment. Here are four steps gyms are taking to keep everyone’s workout space clean:
- Hand sanitisers in lobbies and around gyms
- Equipment being cleaned after every use
- More regular cleaning and disinfecting sweeps of facilities in general
- Encouragement to shower at home and immediately wash gear before and after use
If these are all followed, gyms will probably be cleaner than they ever have been before.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to wear a face mask at the gym?
Masks are not compulsory.
The World Health Organisation on exercise recommends not to wear a mask while exercising due to the build up of sweat, bacteria, and the ability to breathe comfortably. It is unclear if this also applies to weightlifting though. Still, the Government has not made masks in gyms compulsory, so you don’t need to wear one.
Will staff be wearing face masks?
Staff can choose whether or not they want to wear masks; this may also come down to your gym’s own policy.
When gyms are-open, will classes be running as normal?
Not necessarily. Class schedules might be changed and some may not run for now. Check with your gym to find out.
How often will equipment be cleaned?
Equipment should be cleaned after every use either by you or a member of staff, as per the guidelines.
What about my gym?
Here are the guidance pages from some of the most popular UK gyms:
– Pure Gym
Check them out to see what their plan moving forward will be.
What if I’m not in England?
The 25th July reopen is only for gyms in England, so stay posted with your local regulations to find out what your country’s plan for gyms reopening is.
Take home message
We have missed the gym over these last 4 months and it’s good to know what will be happening in the gyms when we return.
Being safe is the most important thing throughout this, so remember to follow the guidelines and enjoy your first time back hopping on treadmills, lifting dumbbells, and jumping in pools.