The prime minister unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown restrictions in England on Monday, raising the hopes of millions of Britons that life might return to normal from 21 June.
Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday set out dates from when sectors might be able to open, including hospitality, close-contact services, retail and leisure facilities. The lifting of any restrictions is dependent on the coronavirus infection rate and the success of the vaccine rollout.
The reopening of gyms and indoor leisure centres will be welcomed by many looking forward to exercising indoors again.
It comes after bosses of the UK’s biggest gym chains warned last week that the nation’s physical and mental health could deteriorate without an announcement of planned reopening.
When can avid swimmers hit the pool once more?
Swimmers can look forward to outdoor swimming pools reopening from 29 March at the earliest, the government has said, as part of the second stage of Mr Johnson’s roadmap.
Other outdoor sports facilities that will be able to reopen from this date include golf, tennis and basketball courts.
Gyms and indoor leisure centres will have to stay closed for a further two weeks, but the government hopes they can reopen from 12 April at the earliest.
Can club activities and classes restart?
According to Swim England, indoors children’s activities - including club sessions in all aquatic sports and learn to swim lessons for under-18s - will be allowed to resume from 12 April.
However, organised indoor adult sport will only be allowed to resume no earlier than 17 May, in the third stage of easing restrictions.
How will swimming pools be kept Covid-secure?
The government has said it will update its Covid-secure guidance to advise businesses on improving fresh air flow indoors and carry out regular coronavirus testing to keep infection rates under control.
Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, said the announcement left her with “mixed feelings” and urged the government to reconsider restrictions on over-18s only being able to resume club pool training from 17 May.
She said: “This announcement from the government will come as a relief to so many people who have missed swimming and aquatic activity so much - the end is finally in sight.
“While I’m delighted that outdoor and indoor pools can reopen at the earliest available opportunity allowed by the government, it’s still a bittersweet moment for our thousands and thousands of over-18 club members.
“Of course adults will be allowed to get back in the water when pools reopen but, for so many of them, it will mean they have been unable to train with their clubs for more than six months by the time the indoor restrictions on adult organised sport are eased.
“We have stressed over and over again tot he government that it needed to change this frustrating ruling so it’s extremely disappointing to see restrictions still in place for several more weeks when pools do reopen.”