‘Our job is to help people live healthier lives’ – What to expect when gyms reopen this Saturday

Suffolk Strength Academy is reopening after three months. Picture: GEORGIE KERR

Suffolk Strength Academy is reopening after three months. Picture: GEORGIE KERR - Credit: Georgie Kerr

UV lighting, fewer people and lots of hand sanitiser – here is what to expect when gyms reopen tomorrow.

Under the continued easing of Covid-19 measures the government announced that gyms can reopen on July 25 with enhanced cleaning procedures, social distancing and only one person per 100sq ft.

Everyone Active, which operates Stradbroke and Stowmarket leisure centres, has brought in enhanced cleaning measures using antivirus fogging, sneeze screens for staff and hand cleaning stations for customers,

MORE: Suffolk pub given lockdown boost with new face-liftSimon Fear, the company’s contract area manager, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the support we have received from customers during these unprecedented times, and we’re so grateful. Like many other industries, leisure has been greatly affected by the lockdown.“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe is our number one priority and we have carefully considered the strict measurements to ensure we adhere to the guidance. We will be contacting all customers directly over the coming days regarding the centres reopening. We look forward to welcoming everyone back and thanking them for their patience.”But some gyms are going beyond the government guidelines in an effort to keep customers safe.Ben Gray, owner of Suffolk Strength Academy in Ipswich, said: “Normally with our personal training there would be eight people in the facility and with the group training there would be between 12 to 16 people in the facility at any one time.“But we’ve reduced that down to four and eight.“The guidelines say we’re allowed 24 people within our facility. But we as individuals don’t believe that would allow for social distancing.“Our job is to help people live healthier lives. To put them at risk and to have too many people in the facility would be going against our main job. So we’ve reduced it to what we think is safe on the gym floor.“Everyone will have their own barbell and their own set of plates. For anything else it’s a simple rule: ‘If you touch it, clean it’.”MORE: New boutique gym to open - where you can work out on your own

Suffolk Strength Academy has also undergone physical changes in order to become Covid compliant.

Mr Gray said: “We’ve completely redecorated and cleaned. We’ve had people come in and do the UV lighting and the fogging.

“We’ve changed the entrance system, there’s hand sanitiser by all the touch points, there’s a right of way at all the pinch points.

“Effectively we’ve used the last three or four months to improve our offering to our members. So they can come back to a place where they feel safe and comfortable to train.”