SWIMMING pools, gyms and leisure centres will be allowed to open over the next couple of months in the first two waves of easing restrictions
The Prime Minister revealed the key dates for when businesses will reopen on Monday in the House of Commons and in an address to the nation.
🇬🇧 Read our UK lockdown live blog for the latest news & updates on Boris’ roadmap…
He hopes to get Britain booming and back to near normal by June, and give every adult a vaccine by the end of July.
All restrictions will be lifted at the same time across England – with no more tiers in sight.
And as long as the data allows and there are no more new variants which could wreck the plans, the PM aims to review and relax more rules every five weeks.
The PM vowed today his map was a “one way road to freedom” and insisted there would be no turning back.
When will swimming pools reopen?
Outdoor swimming pools and open water venues will be able to open from 29 March at the earliest.
The reopening of outdoor water sport venues would mark the first step of easing lockdown restrictions after schools resume on 8 March.
The next easing of restrictions on April 12, five weeks later, would see indoor pools reopen for individual use or within household groups.
But Boris will reserve the right to slam the brakes on lifting lockdown if a new variant of the virus emerges.
When will kids’ swimming lessons restart?
Indoor activities for children, including club sessions for under 18s in aquatic sports and learn to swim lessons, will also be allowed to resume from this April 12.
This would be a welcome change to many parents and children, after close to a year of restrictions.
Jane Nickerson last year told Radio 4: “One of our biggest, biggest fears is that there will be a lost generation of children this year who don’t learn to swim.”
A statement from Swim England’s chief executive Jane Nickerson said she was “delighted” that this would enable the reopening of outdoor swimming pools and open water venues.
However, she acknowledged over the wait for older swimmers wanting to train with organised groups was frustrating.
Can club activities and classes restart?
Over 18s will be waiting a little longer to resume training than their younger counterparts.
Organised indoor adult sport including club activities and group water-based activities for over 18s such as health and wellbeing classes, would be allowed five weeks after step two, on May 17.
Jane Nickerson said: “This announcement from the Government will come as a relief to so many people who have missed swimming and aquatic activity so much – the end is finally in sight.”
“We appreciate that many will have been hoping for an earlier reopening date but we understand the need to be cautious as we don’t want to end up in another lockdown in the future.”
“While I’m delighted that outdoor and indoor pools can reopen at the earliest available opportunity allowed by the Government, it’s still a bitter sweet moment for our thousands and thousands of over 18 club members.
“Of course adults will be allowed to get back in the water when pools reopen but, for so many of them, it will mean they have been unable to train with their clubs for more than six months by the time the indoor restrictions on adult organised sport are eased.”
How will swimming pools be kept Covid-secure?
The government has said it will update its guidance to advise businesses on improving fresh air flow indoor.
Coronavirus testing will be carried out regularly to keep infection rates under control.
Swimmers will likely have to adhere to social distancing rules in the water, while pool cleanliness will be a top priority.
People may be told to change by the pool and put their valuables in a bag inside a locker.
Swimmers could be urged to shower at home, arriving wearing their swimwear under their clothes already and to bring toys and floats with them.
This change, called “beach ready” and is designed to make sure swimmers spend less time in the changing room and to ensure that showers are available post-swim.