UK government urged to classify leisure centres ‘essential’ or face mass closures

Video: Mayor: I do not accept COVID restrictions (Sky News)

Mayor: I do not accept COVID restrictions



The government has been urged to reclassify swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres as ‘essential services’ vital to public health – or face the prospect of thousands of facilities being shut permanently if a second lockdown is introduced.

a group of people sitting at a table in a room: Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

As the Guardian revealed in June, nearly half of Britain’s public leisure centres and 20% of the country’s swimming pools risk being closed for good before Christmas – putting more than 58,000 jobs in peril – because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Back us or risk losing half UK’s public leisure centres, industry warns

Even though lockdown restrictions have been eased, a third of leisure centres have still not reopened because of their parlous financial state. And amid reports that the

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