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Will gyms close again? How Boris Johnson’s announcement affects fitness centres in the UK

Gyms were reopened on 25 July to the delight of fitness fans across England, but a surge in new coronavirus cases means this could change.

In response to the spike in infection rates, Boris Johnson has introduced a series of new restrictions in highly affected areas.

This afternoon, the Prime Minster addressed the House of Commons on new measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus.

In high risk or tier three areas, gyms are likely to close, but more detail specific to particular regions is expected to follow later.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Will gyms close again?

A member of staff measures the temperature of a visitor before entering the gym at Nuffield Health Sunbury Fitness and Wellbeing Gym (Photo: AFP)

In “very high” or tier three regions, gyms may well close.

New measures announced for Liverpool, which will take effect from Wednesday, will see further restrictions on the “hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care [such as hair salons and barbers] sector”, said Mr Johnson.

The Prime Minister said discussions with local leaders in high infection areas, such as the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber, were “ongoing”, but urged them to “work with us on these difficult but necessary measures”.

What rules are in place in gyms?

A fitness instructor cleans down gym machines at the North Tyneside Council Waves Gym and Swimming Centre in Whitley Bay North Tyneside (Photo: PA)

Gyms are required to comply with strict social distancing guidelines.

Restrictions include a limit on the number of people using the facility at any one time, reduced class sizes, timed booking systems, enhanced cleaning procedures, the spacing out of equipment and ensuring adequate ventilation.

Users are also asked to change and shower at home, rather than in the gym.

Some gyms are also measuring the temperature of visitors before entry.

In Scotland, indoor group exercise activities are currently prohibited, although gyms remain open for individual exercise.

Do I need to wear a face mask in the gym?

A man wearing a face mask exercises at a fitness centre in Mexico City (Photo: Reuters)

Current Government guidance states that face masks are not mandatory in gyms, although individual establishments may enforce their own rules.

The World Health Organisation does not recommend that people wear face masks while exercising as this may affect a person’s ability to breathe comfortable.

“Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms,” it states.

“The important preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least one metre from others.”

What is the industry saying?

UK Active, a not-for-profit collective of members across the UK physical activity and fitness sector, has called on the Government to categorise gyms as essential services.

Huw Edwards, UK Active’s chief executive, said: “We are calling for

Empire Communities Announces Partnership with Community Food Centres Canada

Vaughan, Ontario, Oct. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Empire Communities, one of North America’s largest privately-owned builder-developers, has entered into a strategic partnership with Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC). Their work helps to support families struggling with food insecurity and programs that help to promote resources for accessing healthy food, the development of food skills and education promoting health and well-being. The sponsorship names Empire as the Community Partner in their innovative program, The Big Social, the CFCC’s second annual national fundraising event raising money for food programs.

“With COVID-19 affecting so many families across southern Ontario and the communities in which we build we felt that a partnership with CFCC was a cause that could directly impact and help the local families in Empire communities, specifically in Southwestern Ontario where Empire has a strong presence,” says Sue MacKay, Vice President of Marketing at Empire Communities. “Empire has long been a supporter of causes and organizations assisting with the promotion of health, education, sport and well-being, and with the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic this type of support is needed now more than ever.”

This year’s Big Social event will be completely virtual, bringing thousands of Canadians together from October 9 to 25 to host a small meal or virtual dinner party with friends and family to fundraise and raise awareness. Money raised will support community members to get access to the supplies they need to eat well and cook healthy.

“Food is an incredible tool for bringing people together. That’s what our community partners do each and every day,” says Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. “Food insecurity and isolation are at an all-time high, and The Big Social provides a safe and valuable way to give back during COVID-19.”



Community Food Centres Canada ( builds dynamic and responsive Community Food Centres and food programs that support people to eat well, connect with their neighbours and contribute, through advocacy and mutual support, to a more just and inclusive Canada. With our 200+ partners, we work to eradicate poverty, food insecurity and improve the health and well-being of low-income Canadians.



Empire Communities ( is a residential builder/developer involved in all sectors of the new home building industry, including both low‐rise and high‐rise built forms. Celebrating over 25 years of building inspiring new places to live, Empire has an established tradition of creating prestigious award-winning new homes, communities and amenities and has earned a reputation for outstanding attention to detail and customer service. Since its inception in 1993, Empire has built over 20,000 new homes and condos. Today, Empire is one of the largest privately held homebuilders in North America with current communities in Toronto, Southwestern Ontario and the Southern U.S. States.




CONTACT: Daniela Tirone Empire Communities 416-627-3896 [email protected]

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