Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed that swimming pools and leisure centres will be allowed to re-open from 2 December, when a new regional tiered approach to tackle the spread of coronavirus comes into effect.
Mr Johnson told the House of Commons on Monday: “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.”
Delighted Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has applauded the decision, but has called for further financial support to secure the long-term future of facilities, calling for the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to confirm additional support in this week’s spending review.
Nickerson said: “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.
“Whilst today is an incredibly positive day, with millions more people now being able to get back in to the water, we know this is not the end of the road.
“Despite our efforts to successfully secure £100 million of Government investment for leisure centres, the financial pressures facing too many of our swimming facilities has not gone away.
“Therefore we will keep up the pressure on behalf of the aquatics community to get everyone back in the water, and for the financial support our pools and clubs need.”
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 swimming.