Leisure centres announce reopening date

16 July 2020

Six leisure centres across west Cheshire will reopen their doors to welcome customers on Saturday, 25 July.

These are Northgate Arena and Christleton Sports Centre, in Chester, Ellesmere Port Sports Village, Northwich Memorial Hall, Winsford Lifestyle Centre and Neston Recreation Centre.

The sites have been closed since 20 March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brio Leisure, a community interest company which is owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council and runs leisure services on its behalf, has been working closely with the Council’s Director of Public Health and industry association UK Active to ensure that robust measures are in place to keep customers and staff safe when the sites reopen.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “As a Council we have to make sure we are doing all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19, while still enabling residents to access services that matter to them – and, at a time like this, services that allow people to stay healthy and active are crucial.

“We have been working alongside Brio to follow government guidelines and national industry advice and are only opening these six centres because we feel it is safe to do so.

“I want to thank residents for their patience as I know people are keen to get back to their indoor fitness activities, and I hope that people continue to be understanding as we move into this ‘new normal’.”

Elly McFahn, Managing Director of Brio, said: “We really can’t wait to welcome returning customers and new customers to our centres but want to stress that their health and safety and that of our staff is our priority.

“We’ve worked in partnership with the Council and are following the UK Active ‘Fit Together’ framework, the industry standard to ensure that fitness centres are COVID secure.

“You will notice some changes when coming back to use our swimming pools, gyms and fitness classes – these are to make sure our centres continue to be a safe environment for everyone to enjoy, and our friendly staff will be on hand, as always, to guide you through.”

Changes include a reduced number of classes and a more timetabled approach to gym and swimming, reduced numbers of places for each activity to enable social distancing, pre-booking activities, changes to entrances and exits, alterations to the use of toilets and changing rooms and the closure of some facilities like cafés, vending machines and water fountains.

Sanitiser stations will be available at entrance points, room entrances and throughout activity spaces, with extra sanitising equipment for gym and fitness equipment, revised cleaning schedules to increase the frequency of cleaning and revised cleaning standards.

Thorough training is being provided to staff on all the new procedures and ways of working, revised First Aid procedures are in place to protect staff and customers and enhanced PPE will be provided to staff with clear guidelines on its use.

Brio has produced a video to show customers what they can expect when they visit one of the centres. More information about reopening, the safety measures in place and guides outlining what to expect when visiting a centre are available on the Brio Leisure website.

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