IT’S THE news that people with lockdown bellies will have been waiting for: the borough council’s leisure centres will start to reopen from Monday, August 3.
But Woodley-based fitness fans will have a few more days to wait: the new Bulmershe Lesiure Centre will open for the first time on Monday, August 17.
Wokingham Borough Council and leisure contractor Places Leisure said that Loddon Valley Leisure Centre, St Crispin’s Leisure Centre, Arborfield Leisure Centre and Ryeish Green Sports Hub will be the first to welcome back customers.
A number of new measures are being introduced at the leisure centres to ensure customers and staff are safe. Changes will include additional wall and floor signage to ensure everyone respects social distancing, enhanced cleaning in gym, changing rooms and toilets as well as introducing hand sanitising and cleaning stations for people to use before and after exercising and for wiping down equipment.
There will be smaller classes for group exercise to ensure people can maintain a safe distance and some of the gym equipment will be repositioned, but there will be enough space for everyone to enjoy a workout.
There will be a staggered reopening: gym and group exercise classes will be open from August 3, Loddon Valley Leisure Centre’s swimming pool will reopen from Monday, August 10, and other sports such as badminton and squash will resume from Monday, August 17.
Customers will have to pre-book group classes, swimming lanes and gym stations.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “We are really pleased the government has now eased COVID-19 restrictions meaning that indoor gym and leisure centres can now reopen. However, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and it’s important that we continue to social distance and keep up good hygiene practices.
“We are busy working behind the scenes preparing the centres to open safely on 3 August. The centres will look and feel a bit different for a while but that is to ensure all our customers and staff are protected. Strict measures will be been put in place to ensure cleanliness and safety and we would encourage people to familiarise themselves with how the centres will operate.”
And Places Leisure is equally delighted that it can welcome back people to its sites.
Tony Penge, contract manager Wokingham for Places Leisure, said: “It is great to be able to announce that our leisure facilities can now re-open for our local community to enjoy. The centres’ staff have been hard at work ensuring vital safety measures are in place for yours and our teams safety – which is paramount.
“Our leisure centres are at the heart of our communities and we look forward to welcoming you back safely to enjoy our facilities once more.”