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Scottish gyms and swimming pools reopen – BBC News



Video caption, Coronavirus: Scottish gyms and pools reopen

Gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts can now reopen in Scotland after the coronavirus lockdown.

It comes as the requirement for school pupils to wear face coverings also comes into effect.

Secondary pupils will wear them between classes and all pupils will wear them on school transport.

They argued that strict safety measures would allow them to open safely.

Over 12s can take part in non-contact activity in places such as dance and gymnastics studios. Younger children can do all activity.

The gym and swimming pool at Inverness Leisure Centre opened at midnight.

Image caption, People were back in the gym in Inverness as soon as it opened

Lee Crawford was one of the first in when the doors opened.

“I had nothing on tomorrow so thought I’d get a couple of hours tonight,” he said. “I haven’t lifted heavy weights in a wee while, just been stuck in the garage with light weights.

“I thought it would be busier than this.”

Image caption, Social distancing measures have been put in place at the Inverness gym

Swim coach Kirsty Ewan, who was back in the pool just after midnight, said: “I was just a bit excited. I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I spend a large proportion of my life here, coaching and swimming myself, so to be away for so long I just wanted to come back at the first opportunity.

“I’ve definitely missed being in the pool. I’ve done some open-water swimming in lochs but there’s nothing quite like being in the pool with the smell of chlorine and things, so it’s really nice to be back.”

Gym owner Steven Morley opened the doors of his New Age Fitness gyms in Hamilton and Coatbridge at 06:00.

He told the BBC his staff had been working non-stop to get safety measures in place.

Steven said: “It’s been tough but we knew this was just temporary. To watch the members walk back through the doors will be absolutely amazing and will make all the hard work myself and the staff have put in the last few weeks worth it.”

Gymnastics clubs were also waiting to welcome back their athletes.

Image caption, West Lothian Gym Club made videos to show its members its anti-virus measures

West Lothian Gymnastics Club in Livingston was previously the only club in Scotland allowed to open as it welcomed just five high performance gymnasts but it was preparing to welcome its younger gymnasts on Monday.

The club has shared videos showing the children how one-way systems and “gym bubbles” will work.

Head women’s coach Becki Campbell said: “We have managed to prepare well in advance so we are ready. On Monday we welcome two recreational classes and five competitive groups.

“We have also been doing gymnast workshops on Zoom. We were worried some would not feel ready but they absolutely are.”

Image caption, The Gold Star cheerleaders know training will be very different now with restrictions in place
Image caption, Even dance schools have had to mark out the floor to keep children socially distanced

Dance schools also have the go-ahead to open.

Scotland’s most successful cheerleading squad, Gold Star in Glasgow said it had made sure its studio was as safe as it could be.

Owner Claire McCreath said: “We have spent the whole week deep cleaning, then doing it again and again. We are relieved, excited and ready to roll and it will be the best feeling to see and hear the people in real life.”

Not all venues will reopen right away

Many of Scotland’s public and charitable trust-run pools and gyms are taking a slower approach. One issue is the viability of reopening if customer numbers are low and operational costs high.

While High Life Highland, which operates sport and leisure facilities in the area, says all of its leisure facilities will reopen today, others have said some facilities will not reopen until October.

Different arrangements are in place for each area. For example, although most of the facilities run by Live Argyll are reopening today, pre-booking will be required and limited to members only for the first four weeks. Pools will be open for lane swimming only and there will be a minimum age of eight.

In the Borders, the trust that runs leisure facilities on behalf of the council has started a phased reopening of its facilities. Live Life Aberdeenshire is taking the same approach.

But in Dumfries and Galloway, the council is working towards having its sites across the region – including the flagship DG1 centre – open by 14 September.

In Angus, the seven Angus Live sport and leisure venues will not reopen until after 14 September. The operators say it is to allow for safety procedures to be put in place and for staff to be trained. No dates have been given for when pools in the area will reopen.

Similarly in South Lanarkshire, fitness classes will not resume until 14 September and gyms will reopen the following week. Pools will not open until Monday 5 October.

‘It will be different’

North Ayrshire Swimming Club will resume training in the water in two weeks.

Swimmer Isla Waller has been training by Zoom for five months and only recently started land training and braving outdoor swimming.

After missing her national championships she is ready to get back and more than willing to wait a little longer.

Image caption, Isla, like a lot of swimmers and athletes who train in local authority facilities, will have to wait a bit longer to get back

The 13-year-old told the BBC: “I was so excited when we heard the date. My mum texted me at school to tell me.

“It will be different when we get back to the pool but we will be fine.

“It will be good to see friends because we don’t get to see everyone at land training.”

More restrictions will be lifted on 14 September.

Sports stadiums, theatres and live music venues will be able to reopen with social distancing, limits on capacity and enhanced hygiene.

Indoor contact sports for people aged 12 and over could also return.

And limits on numbers at weddings and funerals could be relaxed – though they would still be subject to some restrictions.

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