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Coronavirus: Why have Scotland’s pubs opened before its gyms?

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Linda Bauld, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, explained that people working out involves increased respiratory effort and aerosol production – which can spread coronavirus.

“Clearly large gyms where equipment can be widely spaced apart and windows and doors can be left ajar (without relying on air conditioning) will be less risky than smaller premises,” she said.

“But it would be difficult for government to allow some gyms to open and not others.”

Prof Bauld added: “I absolutely understand that allowing indoor pubs to reopen (which are also risky environments) but keeping gyms closed seems unfair.

“The key to getting gyms open will be a continued decline in the number of cases of Covid-19 in Scotland.

“I’m optimistic that we are on the right path to get these premises up and running again during the month of August.”

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “Exercise is good for physical and mental health and we know that many people have been missing going to the gym.

“We don’t want these restrictions to be in place a minute longer than we judge to be necessary but, for now, indoor gyms must remain closed as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chance of infection spreading.

“We’d like to thank gym owners and their members for their patience at this challenging time.”

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