Published: 06:00, 25 July 2020
Gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and other indoor sporting facilities across Kent are reopening today for the first time in four months.
The long-awaited go-ahead brings with it a string of social distancing measures and unfamiliar safeguarding rules.
Visitors are urged to arrive and leave in their gym or sport kit whenever possible and are advised to avoid taking showers.
However, government guidance does concede access to changing rooms are likely needed for swimmers and those with disabilities or special needs.
Despite now being compulsory in shops, face masks will not be mandatory in gyms.
But due to risks over droplet transmission, loud music will be prohibited in order to avoid "people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other".
Government guidance states: "This includes - but is not limited to - refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult."
Meanwhile, swimming pools will restrict numbers to allow 3sqm per bather. Saunas and steam rooms will stay out of use for the time being as the risk of transmission is unclear.
Frequent cleaning of all equipment will be carried out throughout the day and the number of gym-goers will be limited via booking systems.
Class sizes will be reduced and equipment will be spaced out to adhere to distancing rules.
As many windows as possible will be open to increase air ventilation and - as with almost everywhere else - hand sanitiser stations will be provided.
The use of shared objects and equipment such as towels, robes, balls, weights and rackets is discouraged unless they can be cleaned or sanitised between users.
Drinking direct from water foundations is banned but bars and restaurants in sports clubs will be reopening.
If a child is participating in indoor sport, one parent or carer is allowed to be in the premises.
As with shops, floor markings have been installed across sporting facilities and payments will be via contactless cards.
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