Leisure centres prepare to re-open in southern Oxfordshire from this weekend
This weekend is one that many have been waiting for as some of the leisure centres in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse will begin opening.
There will be a gradual, phased opening from this Saturday, which includes changes to opening times. While not all facilities will be available to use from the start, there will be plenty of things for customers in southern Oxfordshire to book on to.
Better, who run the leisure centres on behalf of the councils, have been working hard to implement the guidelines set by the government to open safely from 25 July. Each leisure centre has been independently assessed by Better as they all have different facilities.
Better has outlined the strict guidelines for customers to follow when they access the buildings for their safety and those around them:
- Customers will need to book a one-hour slot in advance online, on the Better UK smartphone app – this hour will include the time it takes to get in and out
- Customers should turn up at their allocated time, not early or late and use the provided sanitiser on entry
- There will be strict one-way systems in place to ensure customers can stay safe and practice social distancing
- Customers will be required to clean machines, equipment and other areas they come into contact with after use
- Gym equipment, pool lanes and dance studios will be operating with reduced capacity and allocated spaces
- Customers must leave by designated route after a maximum one hour. The exit will be in a different location to the entrance to maintain a one-way flow
- Everyone who attends a swim session to should arrive ‘pool ready’ with their swimming gear on under their clothes and having showered at home
The leisure centres will be assessed regularly by Better, and the councils envisage that more facilities will open as restrictions are relaxed and it becomes safe to do so for customers and staff.
In the first phase of opening the timings and access to facilities varies across the leisure centres in the districts, the tables at the bottom of this article give an overview of how each centre will operate.
This Saturday, Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Vale of White Horse District Council will be at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre in Abingdon for its reopening.
Cllr Pighills said: “The reopening of our leisure centres has been long-awaited for many. I feel that everything has been done to make sure that all those who come to use the gym, pools and attend classes will feel safe as well as the staff working in these new circumstances. It is important that we all do what we can to stay fit and healthy, it is vital not only to physical wellbeing, but mental wellbeing too. Some people have been able to find alternative ways of doing this during lockdown but for others leisure centres are important to their activities.”
Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers Cabinet Member for Community Services at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “Today, I went to the leisure centre in Thame. All the staff at Better and the leisure team at the council have been working so hard to enable us to open as many facilities as possible, making sure every step is taken to keep people covid-safe. For extremely important safety reasons, it’s not been possible to open everything all at once, but hopefully those who are able to come to the gyms, classes and the indoor pools that we can open will feel that they are in a safe environment to exercise and keep healthy.”
Note for Editors: You can find out more about the safety measures and guidelines customers must follow, plus more about the individual leisure centres in the districts via the Better website.