Earlier this month we reported how the nation of England would be entering its second countrywide lockdown as a means to combat growing numbers of coronavirus cases. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented a new lockdown effective Thursday, November 5th through at least December 2nd, with pools being closed at the time to all but elite swimmers and school swimming lessons.
We’ve learned today that swimming pools indeed will be among those businesses and facilities able to reopen upon the lifting of this lockdown #2, on schedule as of December 2nd.
Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons, “We can see a route out of the pandemic.
“We must get through the winter without the virus spreading out of control and our winter plan is designed to carry us safely to spring.
“The national restrictions will end on 2 December and will not be renewed. From next Wednesday, people will be able to leave their homes for any purpose and meet others in outdoor spaces subject to the rule of six.
“Outdoor sports can resume, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen.”
Upon hearing the confirmation that pools can reopen shortly, Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson said,n“This is a most welcome development and will be music to the ears of the millions of people who go swimming in England each month.
“I commend the Prime Minister for recognising the importance of supporting people’s physical and mental health and allowing swimming pools to play their part in doing just that.
“We know how important the water is for so many people and I can’t wait to see people getting back to doing the activities they love in pools up and down the country.
“Thanks to everyone who has helped our campaign to get pools open – who signed our open letter to the Prime Minister, who contacted their local MP and who showed their support on social media. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
The Swim England statement also presented the tiers’ restrictions as they know them to be at this time, as follows:
Swim England is waiting for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to publish updated guidance later this week to understand the full impact on our sports but the below is what we know so far:
- Under 18s will be exempt from restrictions as before so all club activity for all disciplines and learn to swim sessions for under 18s are unaffected.
- In tier one areas, indoor sports for over 18s can take place within the rule of six. For example, people from different households could play three v three water polo.
- Group activities for over 18s such as club training sessions and exercise classes can take place in larger numbers, provided that people are in separate groups (up to six people) that do not mix.
- In tier two areas, people over 18 can take part in indoor group activity as long as there is no mixing between households. People can play certain sports which do not involve close proximity or physical contact against one person from another household.
- In tier three areas, indoor sport for over 18s will be restricted to within your household only and there should be no group activity such as exercise classes