Residents in County Durham are being reminded they can still visit the county’s leisure centres and take part in fitness classes.
Following the introduction of new restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus, Durham County Council is carrying out further work to ensure its leisure centres remain coronavirus secure.
A number of measures have been introduced to make sure centres are safe to visit, including strict cleaning regimes, extra space or safety screens between equipment and additional signage to help users move safely around the buildings.
Work has been carried out by the council’s building and facilities maintenance team to put these measures in place to make the venues as safe as possible. Weekly checks will be carried out and any changes implemented where necessary to keep people safe and in response to any modification to Government guidelines.
Users must also book their sessions in advance to limit the number of people inside and ensure they’re following the latest guidance when entering and leaving leisure centres and when inside.
Members have welcomed the new measures and safe re-opening. Paul Reavely, who attends Zumba classes in Spennymoor, said: “I’ve been wanting to come back for a while now. Zumba is my favourite class and I’ve been suffering with my mental health, so it’s good for me to come here.
“I like the setup as you’re socially distanced and you have your own space. It’s a big load off my mind coming here after a long day at work as I can just relax when I get home. I’d encourage people to come back. It’s really good for your all-round wellbeing, your mental health and your fitness. It is brilliant.”
During these financially uncertain times, the council is offering a non-contract membership to new members with no joining fee.
Available until 31 October, this will give people the chance to access leisure centres and fitness classes without being tied in when residents may have concerns around their finances.
To coincide with the launch of National Fitness Week, the county’s leisure centres have also offered free taster sessions to non-members to give them an opportunity to try out the facilities. It’s hoped more of these will be offered in the future.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We’ve worked incredibly hard to make sure our leisure centres provide a safe environment for everyone and that we minimise the risk of the spread of coronavirus. We’d like to remind people that they continue to be safe and remain open for users.
“We understand that these are difficult times for everyone. As well as worrying about the virus, many of our residents have concerns about the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic. However, it’s vital that we look after our health and wellbeing and that’s one of the reasons we’d like to offer people the chance to access our facilities without them feeling tied into a contract that they must continue to pay for. We hope this helps some of them get back into exercise safely without any additional pressures and we look forward to welcoming new members across the county.”
Alongside these new leisure offers, the council is supporting a range of wellbeing activities across the county to encourage people to keep active and protect their health and wellbeing.
Next week marks the start of Bike to School Week which celebrates cycling to school and the benefits of active travel for children. This could provide families with a great alternative to public transport during the pandemic, allowing them to stay healthy and safely distanced from others.
The Northern Saints trail also provides opportunities for people to explore the region’s fascinating history and enjoy the outdoors safely.
For more information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/leisure.