13th Aug, 2020

Malvern's MP Harriett Baldwin calls on Government to open swimming pools, spas and gyms

WEST WORCESTERSHIRE MP Harriett Baldwin has called for help for pools, gyms and spas and beauty businesses so they can re-open their doors as pubs and shops have done.

While people are able to go for haircuts in a ‘Covid-secure’ environment, residents in Malvern and across the country are still unable to visit gyms, swim in pools or have beauty treatments.

Outdoor sports like angling, golf, village cricket and tennis have also been allowed to restart and many sports have returned to TV screens after the coronavirus lockdown, but swimming is still blocked.

Harriett has written to the Government asking it to consider developing a swift action plan to allow more businesses like spas and beauty salons to open and to allow people to exercise in swimming pools.

She said: “The return of hairdressers is a much-needed bonus as the Government develops a strategy for helping the economy to unlock and allow us to do many more things in this ‘new-normal’ way of life.

“However, there are some clear anomalies and I’ve asked for Government guidance on what plans there may be to allow swimming, gyms, spa and beauty treatments to resume.

“If hair can be cut in a ‘covid-safe’ way, I am interested in hearing what the latest thinking is on allowing similar services to return – particularly beauticians who can wear masks to carry out their work, swimming pools where chlorine is used and other healthy activities that bring in billions into the economy.

“Being healthy and a normal weight is a good way to beat the virus too, and as a keen swimmer, I am also eager to hear when pools will be able to be opened again allowing us to exercise in a safe and responsible way.”

At the start of the pandemic some reports suggested swimming pools were safe because chlorine levels saw off any danger of Covid-19 but the issue of changing areas and social distancing also needed to be considered.

No fixed date has been given for the reopening of swimming pools and Swim England launched an #OpenOurPools campaign on social media, calling on the Government to reopen swimming pools.

It claims it can provide guidance and it and pool operators can prove to the Government they have plans in place which could see pools reopened safely.

A petition which amassed 50,000 signatures calling for pools to be reopened has been submitted to the Government.

In its introduction to the petition Swim England points out the activity was enjoyed by millions every year across the country and had been proven to be hugely beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing.

“Swimming pools are hubs of physical activity in communities up and down the country, particularly for many people who may struggle to be active on land due to a range of health conditions.

“We, the undersigned, call on the Prime Minister to urgently review the decision not to allow swimming pools to reopen and to announce a date when pools may open again without delay.”

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