As the Government’s ‘COVID-0’ committee is finalising its re-opening roadmap, Duncan Bannatyne OBE has written to The Prime Minister, Scottish First Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers to ask them to consider opening health clubs and gyms as part of the early stage of reopening the country after lockdown. He has also written to all MPs and MSPs where his health clubs are located, to ask them to support his proposal.
He made a series of significant health-related arguments for early reopening, also pointing out that the transmission of the virus within these facilities was very low following the first lockdown.
- Physical health is critical in tackling the virus – people who are healthy have better outcomes, if they contract COVID.
- Mental health problems have increased dramatically in the last 12 months, structured exercise at health clubs is a proven antidote.
- With more than three million positive cases to date in the UK, exercise can help tackle the demand for rehabilitation; getting fitter can help a patient recover from longer term COVID symptoms.
Gyms and health clubs were in a late phase of re-opening following the first lockdown – behind pubs and shops.
Duncan Bannatyne said: “There are important health reasons why health clubs and gyms, which are very safe environments with strict procedures in place to safeguard members and staff, should be included in the early phase of reopening.
“There are also economic and business reasons. As a company we would rather be offering our members the opportunity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing than being reliant on taxpayer’s money to support a closed business.
“I strongly urge Mr Johnson and Mrs Sturgeon to take note of the very valid points I have raised when considering the gradual reopening of their respective countries over the coming weeks.”
Many of the points raised in the letter are addressed in greater detail in research published by Professor Greg Whyte, Chair of the UKActive Scientific Advisory Board and Professor of Applied Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moore’s University. (See further detail here: www.ukactive.com/news/