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Leisure centres in Slough back petition to keep gyms open during COVID-19 lockdowns

Leisure centres across Slough are backing a petition to keep gyms open during national COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Centre, Slough Ice Arena and Langley Leisure Centre all had to shut earlier this month as part of the Government’s nationwide restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Sports and leisure operator Everyone Active, which runs the three venues in partnership with the council, is calling on leisure facilities to be viewed as an ‘essential service’.

The company’s managing director David Bibby said: “This second lockdown will be even tougher on the UK, with shorter hours of sunlight and colder weather, people in the UK will no longer feel safe or motivated to exercise outdoors.

“By offering essential access to gyms and leisure facilities, during the lockdown period, we can help to tackle this issue of inactivity.”

He added Everyone Active has introduced a host of strict operational measures since the first national lockdown in March including online booking systems to manage capacity and rigorous cleaning regimes.

A petition calling on the Government to keep gyms open in the event of future COVID-19 spikes has been signed by more than 600,000 people.

MPs will now debate the issue in the House of Commons on Monday.

Luke Routhorn, Everyone Active’s contract manager for Slough, added: “This is an incredibly difficult time for the leisure industry and our centres in Slough.

“We are urging our members to get behind us and to support their local centre by signing the petition to encourage the Government to keep gyms open.

“We’re so proud of all our colleagues for their hard work and dedication to providing a safe environment for our customers and can’t wait to reopen our doors once again.”

A spokesman from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We recognise how important exercise is for people’s physical and mental health and that’s why it has always been classed as an essential activity.

“Gyms must currently close to limit the spread of the virus but unlimited outdoor exercise is allowed alone, with your household or with one person from another household.

“A wide-ranging package of financial support including grants worth up to £3,000 per month is available for businesses forced to close in England, and there is the extended furlough scheme to support employers to pay their staff.

Visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/333869 to sign the petition.

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