When will gyms reopen? Everything we know about exercise rules as Prime Minister prepares to ease the lockdown
Outdoor activities are set to be opened earlier than indoor ones, due to the reduced risk of spreading coronavirus outside.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that outdoor sports will return from March 29, but indoor sites such as gyms and swimming pools face a longer wait to reopen.
This means venues like tennis and basketball courts could reopen, along with organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football.
After-school sports are set to be reintroduced at the same time as schools reopen, on March 8.
“The simple way to look at this is that outdoor is safer and therefore we prioritise versus indoor,” Zahawi told LBC.
“Outdoor sports – tennis, golf, outdoor organised team sports, grassroots football – will go back on March 29.”
Gyms have remained closed throughout the third national lockdown which began on January 4, with people only allowed to exercise outdoors with one other person from a different household.
As lockdown restrictions ease many gym-goers and owners will be keen to return to indoor training, but the Government does not look set to allow gyms to reopen in the next few weeks.
The Prime Minister will set out his road map for the easing of lockdown during a Downing Street briefing at 7pm, with outdoor exercising taking priority due to its reduced risk.
Pushed on when gyms and fitness centres could reopen, Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi added: “At the moment, it’s outdoors versus indoors.
"Outdoors is the priority because it’s where the transmission rates are much, much, much lower.”
Each new easing will be conditional on a series of tests being met, such as the continued success of the vaccine rollout, vaccine efficacy in terms of its impact on hospital admission and fatality rates, new variants and infection rates.
The road map is expected to include information on when crowds could return to sports venues in England, with spectators having been barred since the scrapping of the tier system.
Restrictions will be relaxed step-by-step across the whole of England at the same time, Downing Street confirmed, due to the current uniform spread of the virus, rather than on a regional basis.