You DON’T need to wear a mask at the gym: More confusion as Britons can work out, go to the office and the pub without a face covering… but need to for buying lunch or the train journey home
- Gyms and fitness clubs are preparing to open up after the Covid-19 lockdown
- Fitness chains have introduced plans to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19
- Some gym goers are confused on whether they must wear masks in the gym
- Gyms have assured members they have appropriate cleaning facilities in place
Keep-fit enthusiasts working out at gyms when they open on Saturday will not need to wear masks – adding to growing confusion over Government guidelines for face coverings.
Gyms across the country are preparing to open their doors in the latest wave of businesses emerging from lockdown.
Fitness chains have established a raft of measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, from regular deep-cleaning to restrictions on visitor numbers.
Gyms across the country are preparing to open their doors in the latest wave of businesses emerging from lockdown
People on public transport have been ordered to wear face masks
The Government also updated guidance last week to say face masks are ‘strongly encouraged’ in all confined public spaces when coming into contact with ‘people you do not normally meet’
But the looser guidelines for the fitness industry appear to conflict with demands to wear masks in ‘enclosed public spaces’ and to make them compulsory in shops from Friday – just hours before gym members return to work off their lockdown flab.
The Government also updated guidance last week to say face masks are ‘strongly encouraged’ in all confined public spaces when coming into contact with ‘people you do not normally meet’.
But the rules, which have caused growing bewilderment, mean you could be excused from wearing a mask during a morning gym visit, all day in the office or while visiting a pub or restaurant in the evening – but be forced to wear one commuting on the train or bus and while visiting a shop.
The industry body representing Britain’s gyms and leisure centres, UKactive, said it spent last week in talks with Ministers to set guidance for its 3,500 member firms.
UKactive said it is making sure the fitness sector is ‘aligned’ to Government guidance in the run-up to the sector’s reopening.
But a spokesman last night said UKactive ‘would not expect face coverings to become mandatory in our facilities’, which span 7,000 gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools.
UKactive said it is following guidance set by the World Health Organisation that people should not wear masks while exercising indoors as they may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably.
It also says sweat accumulating on masks may promote the growth of micro-organisms.
Under Government guidelines drawn up in consultation with UKactive, gyms are instead introducing stricter safe distancing guidelines, with members exercising two metres apart.
The Government has suggested allowing one person per 100 square feet of usable space.
PureGym, which has more than 260 outlets, said that means a club that normally accommodates 180 to 200 people at peak times will hold nearer 130, including staff.
Virgin Active will open the majority of its 42 UK gyms on Saturday but members will not be required to wear face masks.
David Lloyd also confirmed masks will not be mandatory in its 100 UK health clubs.
Other safety measures include rigorous cleaning schedules throughout the day, using disinfectant certified to kill viruses within 60 seconds, and checking employees’ temperature on arrival. The gym chains also have a range of offers to help retain members.
UKactive said: ‘We note the Government’s decision on face coverings on shops and public transport where it is harder to keep social distancing in place.
‘However, we also support the Government’s consideration that there need to be practical requirements for each sector.
‘As such, when it comes to gyms and leisure centres, the appropriate mitigation measures will be in place to make sure that social distancing remains.
‘Therefore we would not expect face coverings to become mandatory in our facilities.’
Gym chief’s plan to close clubs in virus hotspots: Page 117