Timed sessions, one way systems and reduced numbers - How Sunderland leisure centres will operate after lockdown

As gyms and leisure centres reopen on Saturday, July 25, we take a look inside one Sunderland facility to see how exercise has changed after lockdown.

Friday, 24th July 2020, 6:05 pm
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 6:05 pm

Sports and leisure operator Everyone Active, which manages Wearside’s leisure centres on behalf of Sunderland City Council, has confirmed that a number of facilities will reopen on July 25, after four months of closure.

The Sunderland Aquatic Centre, Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre and Washington Leisure Centre, will be among those opening their gyms and group exercise studios.

And when they reopen, measures will be in place to ensure social distancing is managed throughout the centres and regular cleaning is maintained.

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Inside Silksworth Community Pool Tennis & Wellness Centre as it reopens following lockdown.

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Read more: The Sunderland leisure centres due to reopen on July 25 as lockdown r...

However other facilities – including swimming pools – will remain closed, with reopening dates announced in the coming weeks.

We took a look around Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre to see what measures are in place to keep visitors safe.

Everyone Active’s general manager, Steve Dougal, said lots of people had already booked up for gym sessions and classes.

Steve Dougal, Everyone Active’s general manager.

Staff are also excited to return to work and have undergone Covid-19 safety training.

“In order to help us to social distance we have moved the classes from our small exercise studio onto the tennis courts so that we can increase the number of people that we can have in the classes, but also have a real good social distancing atmosphere,” he said.

"We have already got members booking in for classes and gym on our free Everyone Active app.

“Everything seems ready to go for Saturday.

The Everyone Active centres have a one way system in place and floor markings to help people to social distance.

“It’s been a long four months and we know that members have been dying to get back in because we have had contact with them all the time and we have been putting online content for them to do classes whilst they have been away.”

The measures in place

Staff will inform visitors as they arrive of the new measures and ask people to sanitize their hands. A one way system is in place and hand sanitzer stations are also available throughout the centre. Face masks do not have to be worn. Those who want to exercise in the gym or a class have to book a time slot online or via the Everyone Active app and payment is by card only. Numbers will be reduced for both the gym and classes, with those using the gym given a 50 minute time slot to enable staff to clean the gym every hour. Visitors must clean the machines and equipment before and after use, with machines spaced two metres apart. Outdoor tennis courts will be open from Saturday and have to be booked in advance, indoor tennis courts will be open in the coming weeks The cafe remains closed but vending machines and water machines are available. Visitors are asked to arrive in training gear and then shower at home, but changing rooms and showers are open to a limited number of people at a time.

The centres remaining closed

Inside the modified gym machines are separated by a two metre distance and floor markings show the one way system.

Raich Carter Sports Centre, Hetton Community Pool and Wellness Centre, Houghton Sports and Leisure Centre and Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope will not reopen initially, however a date for their reopening will be confirmed soon.

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Machines and equipment have been measured out to ensure everyone keeps two metres apart inside the gym and the centre itself.
Hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout the centre.