Gyms WILL stay open in Lancashire as it goes into tier 3 lockdown
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Gyms WILL stay open in Lancashire as it goes into tier 3 lockdown

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A UK government U-turn – just announced – will see gyms and leisure centres staying open in Lancashire as the county goes into tier 3 lockdown.

The issue with gyms operating in tier 3 areas had been very muddled earlier this week, with the industry initially told that consultations would take place before any closures occurred, only to find that the legislation drafted for tier 3 made closures mandatory.

The backlash to this news saw industry leaders threatening legal action and up to 50 gyms in Liverpool – which went into tier 3 earlier in the week – remaining open, with one gym being visited by eight armed police officers, who issued a fine when it refused to close.

However, although Lancashire and nearby Greater Manchester will be staying open, HCM understands that the situation in Liverpool is still unclear, with the government now saying it did not compel gyms in the city to close and the council saying it understands it was a government mandate. Negotiations are ongoing.

Although operators are actively considering legal action, this lack of clarity over who is driving this decison is making it unclear at this point (16 October 2020) who to take legal action against.

CEO of ukactive, Huw Edwards, has told HCM that the assocaition is heartened by the news, saying: “We welcome the decision for gyms and leisure facilities in Lancashire to remain open as the region enters tier 3 in the new system of restrictions.

“This decision allows gyms and leisure facilities to continue providing an essential service to local communities, supporting their physical and mental health and resilience in a COVID-secure and controlled environment.

“We continue to call for decisions to be made on the latest available scientific and operational evidence from our sector, which to date shows an extremely low prevalence of COVID-19 in our members’ facilities.

“Our sector must be allowed to play its full role in supporting the nation’s physical and mental resilience to COVID-19 at this time.”

The news is also encouraging for Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, who is negotiating a deal with the government which at this point, includes gyms and leisure centres staying open. Burnham had initially defied the government and refused to take the area into tier 3 on the original terms suggested.

As a former sports minister, Burnham is a huge champion of the physical activity sector.

We will update this story as more news breaks.

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A UK government U-turn – just announced – will see gyms staying open in Lancashire as the county goes into tier 3 lockdown.
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