Active Northumberland sports and leisure centres around the county are to reopen on Saturday 25 July, with stringent new hygiene and social distancing practices in place to keep customers and staff safe and well.
The move to open the facilities comes following the Government’s announcement that it is to ease restrictions on indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities, ensuring millions of people can get back into sport and fitness activities.
Active Northumberland will be reopening nine key sports and leisure centres as part of a phased reopening of services.
To enable social distancing, the centres will initially be restricted to a members only policy as a limited number of people will be permitted into each exercise class, gym session and swimming pool.
New stringent cleaning measures have been introduced which include a thirty minute closure of all activities after each session to enable the thorough cleaning of equipment. There will also be anti bacterial wipes available in the gyms for members to wipe down their equipment and hand sanitizer points throughout the centres.
Members will also be required to pre-book all activities online from the Active Northumberland website or app to secure their place and ensure numbers are limited.
Active Northumberland is the charitable trust which manages sports and leisure facilities in Northumberland on behalf of the county council.
Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said:
“ We are really looking forward to welcoming our customers back. Active Northumberland staff are raring to go, and I know many customers are very keen to get back into their regular fitness routines.
“ Health, hygiene and safety remain our top priorities. The centres we are reopening are the bigger venues, which have lots of space to enable social distancing. I hope the thorough measures that have been put in place will provide our customers with the confidence to pick up their fitness regimes with us where they left off in March.
“ We know that exercise is great for reducing stress and boosting the mood which has a positive impact on our wellbeing; this has never been more important than during the current unprecedented situation.”
The first centres to reopen on 25 July will be:
Ashington Leisure Centre
Alnwick - Willowburn Sports Centre
Berwick - Swan Centre
Blyth Sports Centre
Concordia Sports Centre - Cramlington
Hexham - Wentworth Sports Centre
Morpeth - Riverside Leisure Centre
Ponteland Sports Centre
While Concordia and Prudhoe Waterworld will reopen on July 25th, the pools at these centres are undergoing the final stages of maintenance work and will reopen a week later on August 1st.
The Pegasus Riding Centre at Tranwell near Morpeth will also be reopening.
Mark Warnes, Acting Chief Executive of Active Northumberland said:
“ While the centres have been closed we have been working very hard behind the scenes to implement many new health and hygiene measures to keep both our customers and staff safe.
“We have been following government guidance and have taken industry advice from Swim England, UK Active and Public Health England and believe we have a really robust system in place which I hope our customers will find reassuring.
“ We have introduced some significant changes to the way we operate which we will be communicating to our members directly and through short information videos which we will be releasing over the coming weeks.”
Initially, for social distancing and safety reasons there will be a limit to the number of services, activities and classes available. For example, the cafes will be closed and the GP Referral classes for residents with underlying health issues will continue to be suspended.