GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Venueserve UK Ltd
Venueserve UK Ltd
Venueserve UK Ltd
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Welsh gym operators furious over Welsh government's u-turn in gym reopening - ukactive issues challenge

The re-opening of gyms in Wales has been pushed back by the country's First Minister – just two weeks after one of his ministers promised that health clubs and leisure centres would be among the first businesses allowed to reopen.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that very strict rules for exercise would stay in place for the foreseeable future, despite Wales' COVID-19 rates being at the lowest levels since September 2020 (according to Public Health Wales, 378 new coronavirus cases were reported in Wales on 16 February, the lowest figure since 317 cases on 27 September).

Yet on 1 February, Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government's mental health and wellbeing minister, had said fitness facilities and swimming pools were "crucial" for the nation's health.

"When we do re-open, gyms will be one of the first things we consider," she had said.

Drakeford said the decision to go back on that pledge was due to "new guidance" provided by the Welsh government's scientific advisors.

The U-turn has infuriated the country's physical activity operators, who have accused Drakeford and his government of misrepresentation and an "inconsistent and erratic" approach.

Huw Edwards, CEO of industry body ukactive, said: "Unfortunately, we need to address the inconsistent statements made by the Welsh First Minister regarding the safety of gyms, pools and leisure centres.

"ukactive helped develop the guidance for the re-opening of gyms, pools, and leisure centres with the Welsh Government, and this was informed by a range of scientific and technical experts, including SAGE and TAG.

"Our sector is an open book and these measures have proven to be effective, making the sector ‘COVID-secure’ once it reopened. Up to 20 December, among facilities sharing data, there had been over 1.8 million visits since reopening in Wales, with a case rate of just 2.06 cases per 100,000 visits.

"We have received no new scientific evidence or rationale behind the statements made by the First Minister. These are particularly troubling and inconsistent given he has referred to concerns over the ‘Kent variant’ linked to gyms, yet there are no proposed changes to social distancing or wider restrictions to the population as a whole.

"Furthermore, there has been no published evidence that the new variant – while more transmissible – travels further, remains suspended longer, or is present in greater quantities in expired air compared with the original COVID-19 virus.

"If the First Minister’s proposals were consistent with the concerns regarding the Kent variant, then sectors which require close human contact would pose the greater risk, and not sectors where social distancing is fully integrated.

"We urge all leaders to make evidence-based statements about the cleanliness and safety of gyms and leisure centres, and we ask the First Minister and the Welsh Government to address these inconsistencies.

"We will work with the Welsh Government to address these inconsistencies and have offered the sector’s full scientific and technical expertise to avoid these unnecessary misrepresentations of a sector that is essential for the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the people of Wales."

What did Mark Drakeford say?

Speaking at a press conference on 19 February, Drakeford said the following:

"Since the Eluned Morgan pointed to the mental health advantages of people being able to use gyms – and she's the mental health government in government – we've now had this further advice from our technical advisory group.

"Their anxiety is that the Kent variant, which is so much more transmissible, so much more infectious, than the original form of coronavirus, that that may make gyms particularly vulnerable to being places (sic) where the virus is spread.

"So I don't anticipate that we will see gyms reopening – certainly not in the next three weeks.

"But the evidence will accumulate over the weeks ahead as we gradually allow more things to happen.

"Whether or not allowing people to get together, with the new Kent variant, will lead to the virus coming back (sic) at a very quick rate. If it doesn't, then the technical advisory group will revisit its advice and we will see what might be able to be done.

"I acknowledge everything that Eluned said about exercise, leisure centres and gyms – it isn't just physical fitness, it's mental wellbeing as well."

Drakeford – a former university lecturer – also mentioned a need for "better evidence" in relation to gyms reopening, but failed to articulate what evidence he was referring to and how this new evidence would "emerge" if gyms remained closed.

"At the moment the advice is that we must be precautionary and we mustn't put that (gyms reopening) at the front of the queue and therefore we will not be able to do that until better evidence emerges," he said.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Related news

Welsh government wants to open gyms first after lockdown

02 Feb 2021
Gyms, health clubs and leisure centres are set to be among the first businesses allowed ...

Sport Wales offers £2.5k grants to PTs, fitness instructors and coaches as part of £14m recovery package

25 Jan 2021
Fitness instructors, personal trainers, coaches and other self-employed physical activity workers in Wales are being ...

Gyms close in south-east England for an initial ten days as new 'tier 4' is created

19 Dec 2020
Gyms and leisure facilities in south-east England are to close from midnight tonight as part ...
Latest News
A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as ...
Latest News
What are the effects on public health of gyms and leisure centres being shut during ...
Latest News
Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie has released its State Of Mobile 2021 report, ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled to November. The event will ...
Latest News
PM, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres in England will ...
Latest News
The re-opening of gyms in Wales has been pushed back by the country's First Minister ...
Latest News
The physical and mental health of women in the UK has been put under unprecedented ...
Latest News
Excess body fat and obesity are likely to have contributed to more deaths in England ...
HCM Magazine
Research
Fitness operators who seek to pull through this random and cruel era of COVID-19 will need to embrace change. Not cosmetic change, but deep-down foundational change
HCM Magazine
Policy
Muir Gray has a vision for a world where exercise professionals help people live longer, better lives into old age
HCM Magazine
HCM People
If we could get bike journeys up from 2% to 4% it would make a huge impact on emissions, people’s health and mental wellbeing
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Offering red light therapy to your members can create a valuable source of secondary spend, while also supporting them with their recovery and delivering improvements to mobility, circulation and muscle soreness, as Karen Maxwell explains
HCM Magazine
Interview
COVID survival strategies, growth plans, and a belief that government is finally recognising the value of the fitness sector. The Gym Group CEO speaks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
When Geoff Whitington started to see his life unravel as a result of diabetes, his sons Anthony and Ian gave up their jobs to help him change his lifestyle. This resulted in a new lease of life for all of them. Anthony Whitington, co-creator of BBC documentary, Fixing Dad, speaks to HCM’s Kath Hudson about the journey the family has been on, their mission to inspire others to engage with their health and the launch of new initiative, Fixing Us
HCM Magazine
The great debate
Most of the world is dealing with some form of disruption to daily life, work life and finances, as well as navigating an uncertain world. Even those who enjoy robust mental health are finding themselves suffering from stress, anxiety, low mood and insomnia. What can the health and fitness industry do to help? Kath Hudson reports
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
Resistance training is just as beneficial for women over the age of 50 as it is for men, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales
HCM magazine
Tracking consumers’ sentiment in relation to lockdowns gives valuable insights into members’ priorities. Leisure-net surveyed the first two UK lockdowns and is currently working on the third. Dave Monkhouse reports on results from the lockdown 2 survey
HCM magazine
HCM People

Scott O’Shea

Founder, Station Mill
Coming from a personal training background, my experience has taught me that people hire the trainer before the training
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Forget the ‘Netflix effect’ – it’s all about the ‘iFit effect’ to boost member retention
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry wants? For members to be addicted (in a healthy way) to exercise – not just to increase profits but, most importantly, so they can live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company Ltd
Physical Company provides specialist fitness solutions. This includes equipment, flooring, gym design, programming and training ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Fisikal
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Flooring
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

News

Welsh gym operators furious over Welsh government's u-turn in gym reopening - ukactive issues challenge

The re-opening of gyms in Wales has been pushed back by the country's First Minister – just two weeks after one of his ministers promised that health clubs and leisure centres would be among the first businesses allowed to reopen.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that very strict rules for exercise would stay in place for the foreseeable future, despite Wales' COVID-19 rates being at the lowest levels since September 2020 (according to Public Health Wales, 378 new coronavirus cases were reported in Wales on 16 February, the lowest figure since 317 cases on 27 September).

Yet on 1 February, Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government's mental health and wellbeing minister, had said fitness facilities and swimming pools were "crucial" for the nation's health.

"When we do re-open, gyms will be one of the first things we consider," she had said.

Drakeford said the decision to go back on that pledge was due to "new guidance" provided by the Welsh government's scientific advisors.

The U-turn has infuriated the country's physical activity operators, who have accused Drakeford and his government of misrepresentation and an "inconsistent and erratic" approach.

Huw Edwards, CEO of industry body ukactive, said: "Unfortunately, we need to address the inconsistent statements made by the Welsh First Minister regarding the safety of gyms, pools and leisure centres.

"ukactive helped develop the guidance for the re-opening of gyms, pools, and leisure centres with the Welsh Government, and this was informed by a range of scientific and technical experts, including SAGE and TAG.

"Our sector is an open book and these measures have proven to be effective, making the sector ‘COVID-secure’ once it reopened. Up to 20 December, among facilities sharing data, there had been over 1.8 million visits since reopening in Wales, with a case rate of just 2.06 cases per 100,000 visits.

"We have received no new scientific evidence or rationale behind the statements made by the First Minister. These are particularly troubling and inconsistent given he has referred to concerns over the ‘Kent variant’ linked to gyms, yet there are no proposed changes to social distancing or wider restrictions to the population as a whole.

"Furthermore, there has been no published evidence that the new variant – while more transmissible – travels further, remains suspended longer, or is present in greater quantities in expired air compared with the original COVID-19 virus.

"If the First Minister’s proposals were consistent with the concerns regarding the Kent variant, then sectors which require close human contact would pose the greater risk, and not sectors where social distancing is fully integrated.

"We urge all leaders to make evidence-based statements about the cleanliness and safety of gyms and leisure centres, and we ask the First Minister and the Welsh Government to address these inconsistencies.

"We will work with the Welsh Government to address these inconsistencies and have offered the sector’s full scientific and technical expertise to avoid these unnecessary misrepresentations of a sector that is essential for the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the people of Wales."

What did Mark Drakeford say?

Speaking at a press conference on 19 February, Drakeford said the following:

"Since the Eluned Morgan pointed to the mental health advantages of people being able to use gyms – and she's the mental health government in government – we've now had this further advice from our technical advisory group.

"Their anxiety is that the Kent variant, which is so much more transmissible, so much more infectious, than the original form of coronavirus, that that may make gyms particularly vulnerable to being places (sic) where the virus is spread.

"So I don't anticipate that we will see gyms reopening – certainly not in the next three weeks.

"But the evidence will accumulate over the weeks ahead as we gradually allow more things to happen.

"Whether or not allowing people to get together, with the new Kent variant, will lead to the virus coming back (sic) at a very quick rate. If it doesn't, then the technical advisory group will revisit its advice and we will see what might be able to be done.

"I acknowledge everything that Eluned said about exercise, leisure centres and gyms – it isn't just physical fitness, it's mental wellbeing as well."

Drakeford – a former university lecturer – also mentioned a need for "better evidence" in relation to gyms reopening, but failed to articulate what evidence he was referring to and how this new evidence would "emerge" if gyms remained closed.

"At the moment the advice is that we must be precautionary and we mustn't put that (gyms reopening) at the front of the queue and therefore we will not be able to do that until better evidence emerges," he said.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Related news

Welsh government wants to open gyms first after lockdown

02 Feb 2021
Gyms, health clubs and leisure centres are set to be among the first businesses allowed ...

Sport Wales offers £2.5k grants to PTs, fitness instructors and coaches as part of £14m recovery package

25 Jan 2021
Fitness instructors, personal trainers, coaches and other self-employed physical activity workers in Wales are being ...

Gyms close in south-east England for an initial ten days as new 'tier 4' is created

19 Dec 2020
Gyms and leisure facilities in south-east England are to close from midnight tonight as part ...

News

A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as
What are the effects on public health of gyms and leisure centres being shut during
Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie has released its State Of Mobile 2021 report,
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled to November. The event will
PM, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres in England will
The physical and mental health of women in the UK has been put under unprecedented
Safe Space Lockers
Safe Space Lockers
Precor has launched a mobile app to accompany its popular networked fitness solution, Preva, which
Excess body fat and obesity are likely to have contributed to more deaths in England
The financial performance of health club operator SATS in the last quarter of 2020 was
FIBO has announced that its Chinese event next month will be held as a hybrid
Placing gyms and leisure centres at the front of the queue for reopening would be
Data published today (17 February) shows that for every 100,000 visits to UK gyms and
People aged 40 living with Type 2 diabetes face a "disproportionately increased risk of dying
Miha Bodytec GmbH
Miha Bodytec GmbH
There’s nothing quite like discovering a product that creates a huge impact in our life.
Barbara den Bak, Tom Moos, and Clare Stobart have been announced as speakers for ukactive's
PureGym expects lockdowns to last "until at least 31 March" – and that it will
Construction work has been completed on the £29m Sports Park project in Colchester. The new
Spanish capital Madrid has been hailed as an example of a city which understands the
ukactive has published six 'policy calls', which it says are crucial in order to help
An area north of Sheffield City Centre in the UK is to be designed as
fibodo Limited
fibodo Limited
The world has had to get used to social distancing in 2020 and any business
Europe’s largest fitness chain, Basic-Fit, has secured a €150m bridge facility, which it says will
The Cabinet Office has chosen leisure operator GLL as the "face" of England's COVID-secure physical
MyZone Group Ltd
MyZone Group Ltd
1 - 20 of 11,794
HCM Magazine
Research
Fitness operators who seek to pull through this random and cruel era of COVID-19 will need to embrace change. Not cosmetic change, but deep-down foundational change
HCM Magazine
Policy
Muir Gray has a vision for a world where exercise professionals help people live longer, better lives into old age
HCM Magazine
HCM People
If we could get bike journeys up from 2% to 4% it would make a huge impact on emissions, people’s health and mental wellbeing
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Offering red light therapy to your members can create a valuable source of secondary spend, while also supporting them with their recovery and delivering improvements to mobility, circulation and muscle soreness, as Karen Maxwell explains
HCM Magazine
Interview
COVID survival strategies, growth plans, and a belief that government is finally recognising the value of the fitness sector. The Gym Group CEO speaks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
When Geoff Whitington started to see his life unravel as a result of diabetes, his sons Anthony and Ian gave up their jobs to help him change his lifestyle. This resulted in a new lease of life for all of them. Anthony Whitington, co-creator of BBC documentary, Fixing Dad, speaks to HCM’s Kath Hudson about the journey the family has been on, their mission to inspire others to engage with their health and the launch of new initiative, Fixing Us
HCM Magazine
The great debate
Most of the world is dealing with some form of disruption to daily life, work life and finances, as well as navigating an uncertain world. Even those who enjoy robust mental health are finding themselves suffering from stress, anxiety, low mood and insomnia. What can the health and fitness industry do to help? Kath Hudson reports
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
Resistance training is just as beneficial for women over the age of 50 as it is for men, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales
HCM magazine
Tracking consumers’ sentiment in relation to lockdowns gives valuable insights into members’ priorities. Leisure-net surveyed the first two UK lockdowns and is currently working on the third. Dave Monkhouse reports on results from the lockdown 2 survey
HCM magazine
HCM People

Scott O’Shea

Founder, Station Mill
Coming from a personal training background, my experience has taught me that people hire the trainer before the training
HCM magazine
More than 1,700 industry professionals from 47 different countries joined the virtual Retention Convention recently, making it one of the sector’s largest online events of the year
HCM magazine
Our members can find everything they’re looking for here, from a weekday morning workout class to a weekend date night
HCM magazine
HCM People

Kate Little / Paula Harris

Kate Little & Paula Harris; regional retail managers, Everyone Active
All products have been priced competitively, using Amazon as a benchmark, to ensure the shop can thrive in a competitive market
HCM magazine
Third Space members embrace new digital app, viewing 75,000 workouts in just three months
HCM magazine
The RISE programme will give people the physical literacy and a nurtured baseline of confidence to encourage them into other forms of exercise in gyms and leisure centres
HCM magazine
There’s never been a more important time for us all to be focused on lobbying, as the industry fights for its work and potential to be recognised and supported
HCM magazine
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Forget the ‘Netflix effect’ – it’s all about the ‘iFit effect’ to boost member retention
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry wants? For members to be addicted (in a healthy way) to exercise – not just to increase profits but, most importantly, so they can live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company Ltd
Physical Company provides specialist fitness solutions. This includes equipment, flooring, gym design, programming and training ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Fisikal
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Flooring
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Venueserve UK Ltd
Venueserve UK Ltd