England’s Northwestern city of Liverpool has seen its coronavirus-related restrictions tightened this week, with the Liverpool City Region now placed in the ‘very high local COVID Alert Level’ by the British government.
Local authority districts of Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral are among those cities that have been placed in ‘tier 3’, equating the area to one of ‘greatest concern.’ You can read more about the UK government’s 3-tiered COVID alert levels here.
Per UK government, effective Wednesday, October 14th, the new restrictions for the Liverpool City Region include the closure of ‘indoor gyms, fitness/dance studios, sports facilities and leisure centres’ among other business entities such as pubs and bars.
City of Liverpool Swimming Club says that they are hoping the government grants a special provision to enable a continuation of training for ‘elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity) but says a decision will be rendered tomorrow.
Local clubs known to have closed thus far include Everton Swimming Association, Prescot Swimming Club and Crosby Swimming Club.
Unfortunately tonight is the last sessions until further notice . The centre has just informed us they will be closed from tomorrow at 8pm @ParkwoodLeisure due to the governments new lock down rules
— Crosby Swimming Club (offical) (@club_crosby) October 12, 2020
Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has urged the government and local authority leaders not to be ‘short-sighted’ and suddenly close leisure centres in areas hardest hit by coronavirus cases. Nickerson has stressed that research has shown the prevalence of coronavirus in swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms is extremely low and they should not be forced to close under the new restrictions taken to tackle the pandemic.
“We fully appreciate that action is needed to stop the spread of coronavirus but closing swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms is not the answer,” Nickerson said.
“If anything, these are the essential facilities that are needed more than ever before as an active, fitter population will be better equipped to fight against the virus.
“Being active is proven to help people’s mental wellbeing which will be crucial to helping people get through another lockdown.
“For those very reasons, it would be a short-sighted decision to close leisure centres in very high-risk areas.”
The latest figures show that the North West has around 40% of all Covid-19 cases, with an eight-fold increase in patients being admitted to hospital. Currently, 30% of the North West’s intensive care capacity is taken up with Covid-19 patients. (gov.UK)
They warned that in four weeks’ time the North West could see more patients in intensive care than at the peak of the first wave unless action is taken.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
I am hugely grateful to local leaders in the Liverpool City Region for the constructive discussions this weekend over the further steps we will take together to combat coronavirus. They will be critical to save lives and protect the NHS – so it can continue to provide the essential services that so many of us rely on.
This is a vital moment in our national effort against the second wave of the virus. We will continue to work closely with other local leaders in the days ahead.
You can view the current list of local COVID alert levels by area here.