What to look out for as leisure centres reopen

People can lift weights, spin, or hop on the elliptical trainer at council-owned leisure centres in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington from Saturday.

Published: Wednesday, 22nd July 2020

As it follows the latest phase of Government lockdown easing, Cherwell District Council is alerting residents that they will need to book their visits to leisure centres via the LeisureCentre smartphone app. In recent weeks, Cherwell has been working closely with its delivery partner, Legacy Leisure, to plan for the safe, phased reopening of its facilities from Saturday 25 July.

The open-air pool at Woodgreen Leisure Centre in Banbury will open for lane swimming from Saturday, 1 August for the remainder of the summer season. 

Cllr George Reynolds, Cherwell’s lead member for leisure and sport, said: “The reopening of leisure centres is really good news for local people, who I know have missed the chance to use the running machines, lift weights and attend their usual classes during lockdown. 

“That relief still comes with a note of caution. We know coronavirus is still in general circulation, so we are reopening in a careful, phased way. People using the centres will need to book before they show up, and inside the facilities there are arrangements to encourage social distancing that they will need to follow. 

“But people have been brilliant at adapting to the changes that the collective effort against COVID-19 has required and this flexibility and understanding will be needed again to make this reopening a success.”

Jason Andrews, area manager for Legacy Leisure, said: “We are committed to providing the best possible experience to our customers, even under social distancing measures, and we can't wait to welcome everyone back to your community leisure centres.”

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s director for public health said: “We’ve all worked extremely hard to bring down the number of cases across the county to the point where we are able to reopen leisure centres, which is great news for us all.

“However, we mustn’t go easy on the virus. There is still very much a risk if we do not take the correct precautions, so residents will see several changes to their experience in order to keep them safe. And remember that all the existing guidance still applies – wash your hands, keep your distance, avoid busy gatherings, and stay alert.”

The measures now in force at Cherwell’s leisure centres include:

• Enhanced cleaning regimes and provision of hand sanitizer 

• The booking app to limit overall numbers at the centres

• Classes will be held in larger spaces to facilitate social distancing

• There are floor markings to help people stay distanced during class 

Reopening dates for the indoor pools across the district will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

People can download the LeisureCentre app using Google Play or the App Store.

Additional information is available on www.leisurecentre.com