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Scotland's health club opening date confirmed as 26 April – but group exercise must wait

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Scotland’s health clubs and leisure centres can now begin to prepare for reopening, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that indoor fitness facilities can open their doors on 26 April.

Gyms were among the businesses given the green light to start trading again as part of a range of lockdown easing measures – scheduled for April and May – which will see mainland Scotland gradually move towards level 3 of the country's four-tier system.

The reopening of gyms, however, will only allow individual exercise.

Indoor group exercising won't be back on the menu until at least 17 May – and the date could still change, depending on data relating to COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalisations.

The announcement means Scottish health clubs can open their doors exactly two weeks after those located south of the boarder in England – where indoor fitness facilities can reopen on 12 April. In England too, group exercise classes must wait until 17 May.

The move was welcomed by fitness operators in Scotland.

Industry body, ukactive, said the inclusion of health clubs and leisure centres among the first wave of reopenings was a recognition of the sector's importance to public health.

“The timetable announced today for reopening indoor gyms and leisure facilities in Scotland brings welcome clarity for our sector," said Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive.

“It is right that these essential facilities have been prioritised for reopening from 26 April, providing a long-awaited boost for the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people that rely on them to stay active.

“The Scottish Government clearly recognises the sector’s excellent safety record, demonstrated by our regular reporting of COVID-19 data, and we will continue to provide updates throughout the next chapter in the management of the pandemic.

“However, we must continue our work with the Scottish Government and its health agencies to address any outstanding questions they have regarding indoor classes, which the plans show are not due to reopen until 17 May.

“While reopening is vital, we also welcome the announcement of restart grants of up to £19,500 for businesses in our sector, and we look forward to seeing the details of these.

“We will continue to support our members throughout the reopening process and work with the Scottish Government to make sure our sector is able to play its full role in the nation’s recovery.”

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Scotland’s health clubs and leisure centres can now begin to prepare for reopening, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that indoor fitness facilities can open their doors on 26 April.
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