ukactive keeps the heat on government over group exercise ban, as more regions enter Tier 3
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ukactive keeps the heat on government over group exercise ban, as more regions enter Tier 3

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Industry body ukactive has intensified its challenge to overturn the government's decision to ban group exercise in Tier 3 areas in England after more regions, including London, entered the highest level of restrictions.

Ukactive CEO Huw Edwards said the physical activity industry understood the difficult decisions faced by the government as COVID-19 rates increase – but is questioning the rationale for the ban on indoor group exercise.

"We want the ban on group exercise to be reviewed and changed," Edwards said.

“Indoor group exercise classes do not compromise any element of the government’s safety guidelines, by operating at reduced capacity, with adapted booking and queuing systems to maintain social distancing, and using stringent ventilation and sanitisation processes.

“These measures help explain the latest evidence from more than 2,000 gyms and leisure facilities which shows an extremely low prevalence of COVID-19.

“Today’s announcement means that many people in London, and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, will lose access to the indoor group exercise classes which help to keep them physically and mentally strong.

“We know that women in particular rely on indoor group classes to stay active, and we urge the government to review this restriction because it will have a considerable impact on activity levels in the winter.

“Last week, we made submissions to the Government outlining the threat to thousands of businesses in London and other areas in Tier 3, which provide group exercise services to a diverse range of communities.

“In London alone there are about 280 boutique studios, employing more than 4,000 people, which will not be able to trade under the current Tier 3 restrictions.

"These businesses will require urgent support to survive this period, in addition to the extension of furlough support and to the moratorium of forfeiture.

“January is a vital time for our sector, and we urge the Government to provide tailored financial and regulatory support for its recovery, including a combination of business rate relief, VAT exemptions, and incentives that not only help to rebuild, but also encourage more people back into physical activity.”

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Industry body ukactive has intensified its challenge to overturn the government's decision to ban group exercise in tier 3 areas in England after more regions, including London, entered the highest level of restrictions.
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