Plea to let gyms remain open during lockdown
Ukactive chair Baroness Grey-Thompson questioned the decision, stating that even the Scientific Advice for Emergencies (SAGE) group had spoken about the “detrimental” impact of shutting them again.
“Through July ukactive worked with the Chief Medical Officer, with SAGE, with Public Health England, to get guidance which covers ventilation, track and trace, hygiene, social distancing and got the highest guidance of any sector,” she told talkSPORT.
“That enabled us to open gyms and leisure provision. In September SAGE really, clearly highlighted the fact that if gyms closed again it was going to have a detrimental effect, not just on people’s physical health but on their mental health and well-being as well.”
British Cycling, England Athletics and British Triathlon have written to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to ask that small group rides and runs, and coaching sessions for young people and those with disabilities, are exempted from the new national measures.
In the letter, the respective chief executives say: “We have a duty to enable people to lead healthy, active lives during this period of extreme mental toil.”
Meanwhile, a number of sports have criticised the decision to order the closure of outdoor sports facilities, saying the health benefits of staying open outweigh the public health risk.
Archery GB chief executive Neil Armitage said: “We agree with comments from fellow sports such as golf and tennis and believe that certain sports, particularly outdoor archery, can be safe with the current appropriate common-sense measures in place.
“The nature of our sport is that it may be enjoyed outdoors with adequate social distancing and Covid-secure protocols. Shooting arrows outdoors represents no more risk than taking a country walk, one could argue that it represents a lower risk as protocols are in place at all outdoor ranges.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to rule out making any exceptions on the ban on indoor and outdoor sports activity during the new lockdown period when he spoke on Monday, arguing: “Once you unpick at one thing alas the effectiveness of the whole package is compromised.”
Cabinet minister Michael Gove had to apologise on Tuesday morning after wrongly indicating it would be fine to play tennis or golf if it was with just one other person.