Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed the announcement made today by the First Minister that the reopening of gyms and swimming pools has been brought forward to 31 August.

Nicola Sturgeon gave 31 August as an indicative date for gyms, indoor sports courts and swimming pools to reopen provided that Covid-19 remains suppressed.

Guidance has been published for the safe reopening of these facilities which includes measures such as recommending that communal showers and changing areas to be closed unless essential with facility users and staff being encouraged to change and shower at home.

Facility capacities will also be limited in order to comply with physical distancing guidelines and shared equipment such as weights must not be used unless it can be sanitised between users.

The First Minister indicated that for indoor sports courts, which includes dance studios and gymnasiums, the guidance for over 12s, the reopening date only applies to non contact sports for the time being.

The SNP MSP said: “People in North Ayrshire will have missed being able to visit gyms and leisure facilities which provide a significant physical and mental health benefit. Equally, the financial impact of these facilities being closed will have been felt by business owners in the area.

“The guidance put in place to enable their reopening has been made to ensure that customers and staff are kept safe from the virus which remains a significant threat to public health at the moment.”

Additional proposed measures by the Scottish Government for the safe reopening of gyms and swimming pools are:

  • The capacity of facilities may have to be limited in order to maintain social distancing requirements.
  • Car parks may need to be closed or the capacity reduced to maintain physical distancing requirements.
  • Changing rooms and showers should only be used if they’re essential as they considered to be an area of increased risk of transmission. However, they must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming.
  • Communal showers may be closed.
  • Users and staff will be encouraged to shower and change at home rather than in the changing room where possible.
  • Avoid the use of shared items e.g. towels, robes, balls, weights, rackets, scoring equipment, sports clothing unless they can be cleaned or sanitised between users.
  • New and existing members may have to attend mandatory Covid-19 inductions.
  • The numbers inside a swimming pool at once should be restricted to 6m2 per bather.
  • Signage will be introduced at drinking taps to prevent the use of ‘face-to-tap’ drinking. Such facilities should only be used to fill up water bottles.
  • Sauna and steam rooms should not be opened.

The full guidance for facilities can be viewed on the Scottish Government’s website: