Coronavirus: Re-opening plans for Islington’s leisure centres and gyms announced

The Sobell Leisure Centre

The Sobell Leisure Centre - Credit: Archant

Plans have been announced for re-opening Islington’s leisure centres and gyms following the coronavirus lockdown.

The only pool in the borough currently open is at Ironmonger Row Baths, with those at Highbury and Archway Leisure Centres and Cally Pool remaining closed for the time being.

Fitness classes are running and gyms are open at Highbury, Ironmonger Row, the Sobell Centre and Islington Tennis Centre where the tennis courts are also open, while only the gym is open at Archway.

The Sobell Centre’s trampoline park will re-open tomorrow. Managers aim to keep tots socially distanced by managing capacity and explaining rules to them in a briefing session, which will be enforced by staff.

Anyone who wants to use the facilities must pre-book a one-hour time slot via the Better app or website.

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Cally Pool and Gym, Finsbury Leisure Centre and Market Road will re-open at a later date which Better Leisure, the charitable social enterprise that operates leisure facilities on behalf of Islington Council, has not yet set.

To assist in social distancing to help avoid the spread of the virus, signage and floor markings will direct customers to a one-way system.

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Some gym equipment has be removed to make sure that users can maintain a two metre distance, and some fitness classes will be relocated to larger sports halls or - weather permitting - the open air.

Swimmers are being told to arrive “beach ready” with their costume on under their clothes to save time and reduce overcrowding in changing rooms.

Gym and studio customers will be encouraged to bring their own drinking water and mat if needed, and to shower and change at home.

A new cleaning regime is being implemented, and customers will be told to wipe down the equipment that they have used.

Those who don’t feel confident returning to the centres initially or who might have health conditions that put them at higher risk of infection from Covid-19 will be given the option to continue to freeze their memberships.

All Better members will be given access to all Better facilities nationally throughout the summer holidays.

Manager Tyron Fuller said: “Keeping people safe is now a shared responsibility and as a leisure operator we will be working in partnership with customers to ensure they have complete confidence when they return.

“We recognise that some people may be worried about returning to their local leisure facilities, so we will continue to offer free access to online fitness and exercises classes via our Better app.”

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