Two weeks on from the return of many outdoor sports and physical activities, this week marks another significant time for our sector.
Leisure centres, gyms, pools and other indoor facilities can all begin welcoming people through their doors once again, but with certain restrictions still in place.
We know that getting to this point has only been possible thanks to the dedication of everyone in the sector, from leisure providers to volunteers, who’ve all worked hard to implement the guidelines set out in the government’s roadmap to reopening.
Our research is telling us that 58% of people miss the types of activity they were able to do before the outbreak, with 43% saying the closure of facilities has reduced their activity levels.
We also know that gyms and local leisure centres provide a vital role in enabling under-represented groups, such as women and people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, to get active – so this week is very much to be welcomed.
And we also know that many people are conscious about their impact on the coronavirus (Covid-19) transmission rate and that some currently feel safer exercising at home.
That’s why we’ve been working with providers, sharing our insight into how they can encourage people back to their facilities, by highlighting the safety measures they’ve put in place.
These facilities often act as vital community hubs and we know their social value is modelled to be around £2 billion a year – all of which is reason to welcome their reopening.
And while this is indeed a week to mark, we must also acknowledge that while facilities can reopen, for many it’s not financially viable.