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Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools in Scotland to reopen on 31 August

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Health clubs, fitness studios, leisure centres and swimming pools will be able to reopen from 31 August.

Speaking at her daily news conference today (20 August), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was bringing forward the reopening of the facilities – which also include indoor sports courts – which were previously expected to open on 14 September. The decision to allow reopenings comes just days after the Scottish Government published its guidance for the reopening of physical activity facilities.

She did, however, add that the opening date could still change, "if circumstances change".

"I must stress these possible changes are at this stage indicative only," Sturgeon said.

"And given the volatility we face in transmission of the virus, there is a very real possibility that these plans will change."

The First Minister has faced fierce criticism from the physical activity sector for her reluctance to allow facilities to reopen.

Earlier this month, she was asked to provide the sector some clarity over her plans, which saw Scotland remain the only home nation in which gyms, pools and indoor sports venues remained shut. Sturgeon had previously branding gyms as "hotbeds for transmission" – remarks that resulted in industry body ukactive inviting Sturgeon to visit a gym to see for herself the measures in place to keep members and staff safe.

In response to the reopening plans, ukactive said it was delighted that a period of "great uncertainty" was over.

“This announcement means an end to much of the uncertainty for thousands of fitness and leisure facilities and their staff, and the communities they serve in Scotland," said ukactive CEO Huw Edwards.

“The decision to bring forward the reopening reflects the highly professional approach the sector has demonstrated throughout its preparations for reopening.

“This is a health crisis, so we now look forward to playing our central role – using our facilities and staff to help combat COVID-19 by strengthening the physical and mental health of people in every community.

“The health and safety of staff and customers is the number one priority for our sector. Our sector looks forward to showing customers they can return to their gyms and leisure facilities safely and confidently.”

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