Ruth Maguire MSP has asked the Scottish Government to consider prioritising the reopening of gyms and leisure facilities when further coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are eased.
The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South relayed frustrations from constituents on the prioritisation of what facilities could reopen when lockdown measures were previously lifted.
Speaking in response to the First Minister’s statement on Covid, Ms Maguire said: “It was a cause of great consternation to many of my constituents that pubs were open before folk could go to the gym or take part in sport which could be operated safely and positively contribute to people’s physical and mental health.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Obviously all of us will want everything to get back to normal as quickly as possible but what we learned last year is that we can’t do everything at once.
“I’ve been very clear today that first priority for the government is getting children back into education and I think that is something that has widespread support across the country. After that, if we have limited headroom then other facilities that help with the health and wellbeing of the population absolutely have to be there in our thinking.
“It’s not going to be an easy balancing act this time round any more than it was last time round but we’ve got the experience of last time to know perhaps what think we did right and perhaps what we wish we had done differently and apply that this time, and that’s what we will be seeking to do.”
Providing further comment, Ruth Maguire said: “I’m pleased to hear that due consideration will be given to how the Scottish Government will prioritise the reopening of parts of the economy when it is safe to do.
“It’s absolutely right that schools are given priority, however people who could safely go to the gym and take part in sporting activities while sticking to guidelines were understandably frustrated when they were not able to as hospitality reopened.
“In an ideal world, this is a decision that would not need to be made as it’s valid for all businesses to want to reopen, however areas of the economy that benefit physical and mental wellbeing should not be made to wait as long this time around.”
The full question and response can be viewed below: