On Monday 12 October the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the new tiering of local restrictions clearly indicated that gyms and fitness centres would remain open under the baseline measures for Tier 3 (Very High Local Covid Alert).
Specifically, it was announced that gyms and leisure centres would remain open under baseline measures in those areas defined by the Government as being on Medium, High or Very High Local Covid Alert. In areas on Very High Local Covid Alert, closure or additional restrictions of gyms and leisure centres would be considered only after, and subject to, consultation.
However, the Regulations* issued on Monday 12 October contradicted the Prime Minister’s statement, as well as the statement made by the Secretary of State for Health, in addition to further government guidance published.
Legal advice has been sought on the interpretation of the Regulations, and this has confirmed that they currently stipulate gyms and leisure centres must close in all and any Tier 3 areas. If not changed, this would be hugely damaging to the gym and fitness sector across the country.
Following the legal advice, we believe that the Government must move swiftly to rectify this issue. We understand that this can be done either by amending the current Regulations or by modifying their effect when any new Tier 3 area is added to the list. We call on the government to articulate which of these courses of action they intend to pursue and by when.
We have today been seeking formal clarification from the Government to understand the reasons for this inconsistency, and also reassurance that the Regulations will be changed to reflect the statement from the Prime Minister. We have received, to date, no such clarifications and reassurances. Should this remain the case and if this legislation remains unchanged, then we will seek remedy via all options – legal or otherwise – that are open to the sector.
*Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Very High) England Regulations 2020/1105 (“The Regulations”)