Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport has announced that outdoor pools in England will be allowed to reopen from Saturday 11 July. Indoor pools in England will begin to reopen from Saturday 25 July. Pools have been closed since Friday 20 March.
The announcement was made 16 days after Swim England launched its #OpenOurPools campaign. Nearly 55,000 signed the petition calling on the government to reconsider its decision not to open pools alongside hotels, restaurants, pubs and cinemas on 4 July.
With many pools facing financial hardship and under threat of closure, Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has vowed that the national governing body will do everything in its power to support facilities that are under threat. Earlier today Portishead Lido announced that it will not be opening in 2020 due to financial constraints.
“Now we know when pools can start to reopen, our focus turns to fighting for those facilities that are facing an uncertain future due to financial difficulties caused by the lockdown to curb this awful pandemic,” Jane Nickerson said.
“Aquatic activity has been proven to improve people’s physical and mental health, helping save the health and social care system more than £357 million a year.
“Even before this outbreak, we were forecasting a shortage of facilities over the next 10-20 years and this problem will only be exacerbated by the loss of pools as a result of Covid-19.
“These pools are an integral and important part of every community and we’ll do everything we can to help ensure that remains the case.”