‘We can be part of the solution’: Welsh gym owner calls for clarity as gyms set to reopen in England

Gyms in Wales are calling for a date on when they can reopen as their counterparts in England are told they can start operating at the end of the month.

One gym owner in south Wales said they can be "part of the solution" to the global health pandemic if allowed to open.

While outdoor visitor attractions started welcoming back visitors on Monday 6 July, indoor visitor attractions, hospitality and gyms are yet to be given a date for when they can follow suit.

Indoor gyms, pools and leisure facilities can reopen in England from July 25 while outdoor swimming pools will be able to reopen from Saturday 11 July onwards.

Chris Jones, co-owner of a gym near Cowbridge in south Wales, said they agreed with the lockdown "completely" but after 16 weeks closed with no indication of when they can reopen, the industry is beginning to feel frustrated.

Speaking hours before the announcement on gyms in England, he said gyms can "be part of the solution" because of the benefits they bring to people's physical and mental health.

Like many businesses, gyms were forced to close at the start of lockdown as a way of limiting the spread of the virus.

As Wales and the UK begins to move out of lockdown and restrictions are eased, businesses are beginning to open up. Non-essential retail shops in Wales were allowed to open at the end of June while outdoors hospitality, like pubs, are allowed to reopen from July 13.

However indoors facilities have not been given a time frame on when they can reopen. In England, places like restaurants have been allowed to operate indoors since July 4.

Chris Jones said gyms can help in a global pandemic because of the benefits they bring to mental and physical health. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Gyms in England were told on Thursday that they could reopen on July 25.

Speaking before the announcement in England, Chris Jones said he hopes any move on gyms over the border will put pressure on Welsh Government to at least consider when gyms like his can open their doors again.

Mark Drakeford said on July 3 that he could not see gyms reopening indoors at any point in the near future.

This comes as the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (WAVA) say they are considering taking legal action against Welsh Government because of their decision not to allow indoor attractions to open.

A Welsh Government Spokesperson, said: "Coronavirus has not gone way. The action we are taking, which is based on scientific and medical advice, is designed to reduce the spread of the virus and to  help save lives.

"Future decisions, in respect of camping, indoor hospitality and indoor attractions will be made, in light of the success of the first phases of re-opening.

"Tourism is a vital part of the Welsh economy at a national, regional and local level. A successful, safe and phased return will give businesses, communities and visitors confidence to continue with the recovery of the visitor economy."