Gym bosses across Lancaster district 'ecstatic' as they prepare to welcome back fitness fans
Gym owners say they are 'over the moon' to be able to reopen soon - and have reassured clients that their facilities are safe.
Gyms and health centres are due to reopen on April 12, as part of the new 'roadmap' laid down by the government last month for the loosening and complete removal of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England.
Alongside gyms, all retail, libraries and community centres, self contained accommodation, personal care, outdoor attractions and pub beer gardens (with restrictions on socialising) - will be able to reopen on April 12.
In addition, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that schools and colleges would reopen to all year groups on March 8, and by May 17, indoor hospitality could resume, along with other accommodation such as hotels, organised indoor sport, a maximum of 30 people gathering outdoors - including private gardens - and two households indoors.
By June 21, life would be pretty much back to normal under the plan, when even nightclubs and music festivals would be able to resume.
This would all be subject to review however - and "based on the latest data at every step".
For numerous businesses across the district, it's now time to prepare to resume trading at the end of a long and difficult road.
Gyms and health centres are among those busy getting ready for their planned reopening on April 12, with many having new and improved safety measures in place to ensure their clients feel safe.
Hive Athletics - CrossFit Central Lancaster said it has not been an easy year, but they are 'ecstatic' to be able to open again next month.
They said: "Hive Athletics - CrossFit Central Lancaster is once again ecstatic to finally be re-re-opening its doors on April 12 (all being well). Following a government announcement, the go ahead for gyms has been given, and with strict guidelines our members can finally hit the floor again.
"It's nearly been a year since we had to initially close our doors in March 2020 - and like so many other businesses, it's not been an easy year. Being thrown into a position where we have been unable to operate has not only been hard financially, it's been super tough on our members.
"Hive Athletics is so much more than a place where individuals come to get stronger, fitter, lose weights and smash goals - it's a second home for many, and has the family to boot. So being closed has affected many of our members mentally as well as physically.
"Over the past year we have been doing our best to support everyone - with Zoom workouts, nutritional challenges, quizzes and other interactive means, and while this has been great, we are all so so ready to step back onto the gym floor.
"As we do return to in person training, we have all the social distancing and safety protocols already in place. Members have their own allocated space and equipment which is disinfected prior to use. And there are 'flow' systems in place to ensure a safe entry and exit from training. When these measures were first introduced last year, we were very wary of how everything would work - but credit to the members and coaches for just getting on with it and adapting to what was needed.
"So as we approach our new opening date, there are less nerves of 'how will it run?, or 'how is this going to work?' and more of 'I can't wait to be back!'
"I think lockdown has taught many of us the importance of looking after our own health, and it's great to see so many new faces keen to join us. If you are on the fence about giving CrossFit a go, there couldn't be a better time. We would love to hear from you (or you can have a look at our website hiveathleticslancaster.com).
"As a final note (and probably the most important), the team at Hive Athletics would like to praise the loyalty and dedication of its members for keeping it’s head above water during the Covid-19 pandemic - you guys rule and we can't wait to welcome you back with open arms!"
Deena Gillan, club manager at 3-1-5 health club in Caton Road, agreed that the last few months in particular had been tough.
"At 3-1-5 we are over the moon to have a potential date for reopening; as a small family business missing January and February (traditionally our busiest months of the year) has been difficult, and we have made it through these last few months due to the unwavering support and donations from our loyal members, to whom we will always be grateful," she said.
"We have seen what the struggles of the last 12 months has done to the people of the bay area, and the effect this has had on physical health and mental wellbeing.
"We genuinely believe that we can be a part of the solution, an essential service that going forwards along with the vaccine can reduce the risk of illnesses that make people more susceptible to the more serious effects of Covid-19.
"The Government roadmap publication even states 'exercise is well documented to reduce risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. Physical activity is also known to help with improving mental health through better sleep, happier moods and managing stress.'
"Our entire fitness team are currently embarking on a Covid Recovery qualification, this course will provide our already expert team with the specific knowledge and training to work with clients who have had the virus, and help them to speed up their recovery, offsetting the effects of long covid and improving respiratory fitness.
"Although the path ahead may not be smooth (as with all local businesses) we can't wait to welcome people back into the club and get 2021 started again."
Ryan Donohue at Fitness Formation in Lancaster said the gym has undergone rigorous safety measures ahead of reopening.
"We can’t wait to welcome back our members," he said.
"Since the pandemic, we’ve been adapting in accordance with the government guidelines. We’ve invested in a lot more equipment, to limit any sharing. We have a strict one way system now. Entry through one door and exit through the back.
"Automatic hand sanitising dispensers are mounted on the walls throughout. Our social distancing is enforced through limited numbers and designated zones in the facility now.
"Our cleaning regime has been revamped and equipment is cleaned after every session, plus three deep cleans per day. We are confident we can once again welcome our members back in an even safer environment than before, all in accordance with the rules and regulations."
A Lancaster City Council spokesman said strict guidelines are also in place at council-run facilities.
"Following government guidance, the Gym, Training Zone, Feel Good Suite as well as the swimming pool and Tranquil Spa and Beauty at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre are planning to reopen on Monday, April 12," they said.
"Social distancing, regular cleaning and other Covid-secure measures will remain in place and the centre will operate revised opening times initially.
"Online booking for all sessions will be required. Sessions will operate with reduced capacities to aid social distancing, and there will be a one way system around the centre until further notice.
"After each session all areas in operation will be cleaned down and all equipment will be disinfected before the next session begins. Additional disinfectant spray and hand sanitising stations will also be available for customers to use."