NEW safety protocols are being put in place as gyms and leisure centres prepare to reopen on Saturday.

GLL, commonly known as Better, is West Oxfordshire District Council’s leisure management contractor and therefore provides these services to district residents.

Gyms have been closed since the beginning of lockdown and although it was only earlier this month that it was announced they could reopen, Better has had plans in place ready to safely reopen.

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John Busby, partnership manager for Better in West Oxfordshire, said: “Everything will be bookable online and pre-booked rather than turning up so there’ll be no congregating at reception.

“There’ll be designated entry points and we’re going to keep the two metre social distancing so we can build that trust with visitors.

“There’ll be one way journeys at the centres so you go in one way and then leave through a different route.

“There’ll also be increased cleaning regimes and sanitiser stations, and equipment is to be wiped down as well as our own staff in to keep on top of cleaning and safety.

Oxford Mail:

“The gym equipment itself will be spaced out and with a reduced capacity and we’re looking to move equipment from the gym to studios.

“Swimming pools will have double lanes and restricted numbers to make it safer and timings will be staggered to control the flow of people.”

Better operates facilities across the district, including leisure centres in Carterton, Chipping Norton and Witney.

Mr Busby explained changes for staff and how things may change in the coming weeks.

He said: “In the last couple of months, we’ve been planning for reopening and drawing up plans, and as we work through the phases, more things will become more available.

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“We need to induct staff again so they’ll know the latest Covid-19 protocols and what the new look will be.

“We’re very fortunate that we’ve got large centres with lots of space to move kit around.

“We’re almost starting from scratch in a sense and we’ll review things on a daily basis and adapt to customer demand if we see that some classes are full.

Oxford Mail:

“Effectively we can open the activities we want but it’s about them being Covid-19 secure.

“The whole system needs to be Covid-19 secure as the priority is the safety of our customers and staff.”

Although other leisure settings such as bowling alleys and skating rinks will be reopening from August 1, soft play areas, in addition to nightclubs, remain closed.