Following the introduction of a new three-tier system by the government designed to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases in hotspots across the country, restrictions are changing depending on which tier an area falls into.
Depending on the situation in the local area, each part of the country is allocated into one of these categories, each with their own set of restrictions: Medium (tier one), High (tier two) or Very High (tier three).
The hope is the tiered system will allow the country to avoid a second national lockdown, though if the system fails to curb cases climbing, this will still be considered.
In areas under higher tier restrictions, some businesses have had to close once again – including gyms in certain areas such as Liverpool.
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But what are the restrictions on other exercise venues such as swimming pools – will they stay open?
Are pools still open?
Yes, many pools are still open across the country.
In areas that are under tier one and tier two, all gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can stay open provided they follow the latest social distancing guidelines.
The official guidance in each tier for exercise doesn’t directly mention pools, but it is likely most sports facilities will include swimming.
The guidance is as follows:
Tier one – Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, and – if the rule of six is followed – indoors.
Tier two – Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with those they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport.
Tier three – The rules for exercise classes and organised sport are the same as in tier two. They can continue to take place outdoors but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport. However, in Merseyside, gyms were ordered to close when it entered tier three.
Will pools close under Tier 3?
Even in the strictest lockdown tier, it’s likely many pools will still stay open for select groups.
Swim England’s website confirms that though pools may be required to close in tier three areas, this will be a matter for the local area to decide and it could vary from location to location.
If a swimming pool facility can prove that they can provide a safe, socially distanced session, it’s likely they can stay open, for example.
However, even if a local authority makes the decision to close leisure facilities in that area, Swim England states that they are still able to provide sessions for elite sport, young people and disabled people.
School swimming pools canremain open for educational purposes in all areas.
The Liverpool city region became the first English city to be put under restrictive tier three measures, which includes a ban on households mixing indoors as well as in private gardens – while pubs and businesses such as gyms, leisure centres, betting shops and casinos have closed.
Greater Manchester is set to follow suit, but there is confusion as Manchester’s Mayor, Andy Burnham, continues to clash with No.10 over funding during the tier three lockdown.
MORE: Can gyms stay open in tier 2 lockdown areas?
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