We all got the announcement we’ve been waiting for on Monday…we got a date to look forward to for when we can finally walk through the doors of the gym again. It might be a while off (we’ve quite literally been counting down the days on Instagram) but we certainly don’t think it’s too early to get excited.
But what actually is the plan for gyms? When will we be able to return to our weekly boxercise classes? When will we finally meet our gym crushes again? We’ve narrowed down all the info you need and what we can expect when gyms finally do open, so let’s get into it.
- When can we go back to the gym?
- What are the rules?
- Will my classes be on?
- What about the pool?
- Changing rooms and showers.
- Before you arrive.
- At the door.
- Social distancing and floor space.
When can we go back?
As of Monday, the Prime Minister set out a rough guide to what the UK’s journey out of lockdown could look like. With four phases of easing being introduced, the phase which lets you back on the squat rack is planned for the 12th of April. This includes the opening of swimming pools as well as gyms, so you can start getting your laps in again.
What are the rules?
Whilst gyms will be open for business from the 12th of April, you will still only be able to enter either on your own or with your household. So unfortunately, if your old gym buddy isn’t part of your household, you’ll have to wait a little longer to be reunited. There will also be all of the usual social distancing and sanitising requirements, skip to the details of that here.
We also weren’t allowed to bring in sweat towels last time around so we can expect the same again, instead, use the wipes provided to sanitise and wipe down any equipment.
The saunas and steam rooms unfortunately won’t be opening until the third phase in May, so you’ll have to wait a few more months for your post-gym spa session.
Will my classes be on?
Unfortunately, your favourite spin class and all of the rest are unlikely to go ahead until the 17th of May, when the next phase of easing comes into play. So you’ll have to continue with your online classes in the meantime.
But that first class back will definitely be worth the wait!
What about the pool?
Good news for swimmers, pools are set to reopen along with gyms on the 12th April.
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 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.
Changing rooms and showers
Changing rooms should be available in a lot of gyms, although many are encouraging you to shower and change at home. The Government is also heavily discouraging the use of showers but neither have been outright banned yet.
Before you arrive
We learnt a lot from the last time gyms reopened, so we’re used to the new normal for entering gyms, but we’ll refresh your memory.
Before you head back, check out your gym’s action plan to see what has changed. There may be limited opening hours and capacity, so it is worth having a look online before you go. The last time gyms reopened, some implemented a booking system, so double check if yours has one this time around.
Gyms are also encouraging you to go at quieter times: Pure Gym, for example, set up their app to allow you to check how many people were in the gym at that time.
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 to minimise any excess time in the changing rooms.
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
Just as last time, we can expect…
- 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. Last time around some gyms removed certain machines altogether to ensure there was enough space to effectively social distance.
Here are some things to expect in your gym this time around:
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. Some gyms require you to wear a mask when you’re walking around the gym but not whilst you’re working out. So it’s worth checking your gyms individual policy on this.
Cleanliness is going to be a major factor in keeping safe while back at the gym, so you’ll be expected to wipe down all of the equipment you use. 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?
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 at the moment, but it’s worth checking your gyms policy as some require you to wear one whilst walking around this gym.
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?
At the moment it looks like group classes won’t be going ahead as usual until May 2021 at the earliest.
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?
This post and information is only relevant to England’s gyms. Stay posted on your local guidelines in your country to figure out what the guidance is for your gyms.
Take home message
We’ve had a few gym heartbreaks over the last year, but things are starting to look much more positive with this new roadmap.
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.