People in County Durham will be able to resume their fitness regimes later this month as council-run services begin to reopen.
Durham County Council will begin a phased reopening of its indoor leisure facilities from Monday, July 27, in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions across the country and in accordance with social distancing measures.
Initially, only gyms and fitness classes will return, with further services being reinstated when it is possible to ensure they are provided safely and in a way that fully complies with government guidance.
All sessions will need to be booked in advance.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We are delighted at the prospect of being able to welcome people back to our leisure centres.
“The current public health and social distancing measures, coupled with the challenge of reopening our centres after a lengthy closure, makes it difficult to reinstate all services straight away.
“However, I’m sure people will be pleased to see our gyms reopen and our fitness classes return, and we will be working to reopen other services as soon as we are able.
“We appreciate that some people may feel apprehensive about returning to leisure centres at the moment, but we are working incredibly hard to ensure they provide a safe environment for everyone, including visitors and staff, and that we minimise the risk of the spread of coronavirus.
“As well as taking steps to ensure people are able to social distance in all areas of the centre, we are introducing a strict cleaning regime and will have extra staff on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Gym facilities and fitness classes will open in phases over the course of the week, beginning on Monday July 27, with Newton Aycliffe, Freeman’s Quay, the Louisa Centre in Stanley, Spennymoor and Abbey Leisure Centre, Durham.
This will be followed by Woodhouse Close, Consett and Meadowfield on Wednesday, July 29.
Gyms at Chester-le-Street, Teesdale and Shildon leisure centres will also open on July 29, with fitness classes restarting on July 31.
All centres will then return to seven day opening, but with only gym and fitness classes available. It is hoped that swimming pools will be able to reopen during the coming weeks.
Safety measures at all sites will include the repositioning of gym equipment to accommodate social distancing, limited numbers and movement during classes and additional hand sanitiser stations. Signage has also been installed to help people move around the centres in a safe way.
All sessions will need to be booked in advance for the foreseeable future, either online or over the phone. Bookings will be taken from Thursday, July 23 onwards.