Users of West Suffolk leisure centres are to play an important role in how the facilities will operate in a safe way, following the announcement that they can reopen from July 27.
Abbeycroft Leisure, which manages the centres in the five main towns, has a comprehensive plan in place for the phased starting of activities, and is guiding members through the new ways they’ll be using the space.
Jo Rayner, West Suffolk Council Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs said: “Exercise during lockdown may have felt solitary and this is a milestone in coming together again in a safe way, at a time of our own choosing, to enjoy the benefits for well being in our excellent facilities.
“I’m glad that the £1.8m upgrade of Newmarket Leisure Centre has been completed during lockdown and that it will be reopening, albeit under the new ways of operating, with the others on 27 July. We are working with our partners Abbeycroft to continue the popular virtual lockdown exercise programme, and reviewing uptake of activities in the centres so we can increase activities in a safe way, as demand grows.
“Being active is vital to staying well as the fight against COVID-19 continues, which is why this council is considering support for Abbeycroft to ensure its viability and enabling centres to reopen for the benefit of users.”
Warren Smyth, CEO of Abbeycroft Leisure, said: “Our aim is to welcome everyone back safely and in accordance with the guidance. The phased reopening means not everything will be open to begin with, but we will be working closely with customers to keep this under review. Things will be a little different. We have worked with experts to introduce new measures and procedures and would ask customers to take a few minutes to familiarise themselves with some of these changes www.acleisure.com/comeback”
All users will need to be registered and pre-book their sessions, which is a legal requirement to support the national track and trace system. This can be done easily online at www.acleisure.com/comeback and customers needing help can call 01284 757473.
An update is being sent to all members explaining that their membership, which was frozen when lockdown began, will be restarted only when they are ready to come back.
The leisure centres will be cashless and customers will need contactless payment for purchases at reception and the cafes. They are advised to bring the minimum necessary with them, and while toilets will be available, showers won’t. More details on what is necessary here www.acleisure.com/comeback.
A fair usage policy will ensure everyone who wishes can book a session. Initially this means that gym sessions will last no more than 60 minutes and there will be no more than one group exercise class per member per day, with all this kept under review to maximise opportunities for customers.
Cleanliness has always been a priority and customers are being asked to do their bit while staff follow the rigorous new regimes. Users are asked to sanitise their hands on entering and leaving exercise areas, clean down the equipment they have used with cleaning product provided and inform staff of anything that needs attention.
Staff will be thoroughly cleaning equipment between sessions and continuously cleaning high touch areas with a disinfectant known to kill viruses like COVID-19. Full details are available www.acleisure.com/comeback
The phased approach to activities in summary, begins on July 27 when gyms in Brandon, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Mildenhall and Newmarket all open along with group exercise classes in Brandon, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Newmarket begin, using sports halls.
August 3: Sports halls open for block bookings via prior agreement and pools open for lane swimming and club sessions the first being Bury St Edmunds, followed by Haverhill, Mildenhall and Newmarket on August 10.
September 7: Swimming lessons begin.
The availability of saunas, squash and soft play is yet to be determined.
For more detailed, centre specific opening dates, times and activities www.acleisure.com/comeback