London, July 25 (IANS) Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities in England have started to reopen on Saturday in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
Gyms must follow strict hygiene and social distancing measures, such as limiting the number of people using the facility and spacing out equipment, the BBC reported.
Facilities should also reduce class sizes and ensure adequate ventilation, according to government guidance issued earlier this month.
Swim England has published separate guidance for operators on how to reopen indoor pools, including implementing a one-way entry and exit system.
Indoor gyms in Northern Ireland opened earlier this month, but they remain closed in Scotland and Wales.
Outdoor gyms and pools have been open in England since July 4 because there is less risk of catching coronavirus in the fresh air.
Luke Willmott, manager of the Castle Gym in Nottingham, told the BBC that the gym was at capacity by around 6.25 a.m., and it was "only right for people to have a choice" to return.
Paul Douglas-Smith, manager of the Littlehampton Wave swimming pool, said the facility can now take 40 swimmers at once, down from more than 130 before the pandemic.
He said the pool will be hit financially, and is aiming for a "staged return".
Despite the relaxed rules, industries bodies have warned many facilities could be forced to close amid the pandemic.
Community Leisure UK, the members' association that specialises in representing charitable leisure and culture trusts across England, Scotland and Wales, estimates that 48 per cent of all public leisure facilities face closure, meaning as many as 1,300 could disappear by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs.