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Leisure centres in Cornwall could reopen from July

Leisure centres in Cornwall could reopen from July

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:46am 14th May 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

The trust which operates most leisure centres in Cornwall says it is hoping to have them open in July.

GLL runs leisure centres and swimming pools in Truro, St Austell, Newquay, Bodmin, Wadebridge, Saltash, Launceston, Helston, St Ives, Liskeard, Falmouth and Bude.

The charitable social enterprise said that it was looking to start reopening the centres in July and said it would be making plans ready for when the Government says that they can reopen.

In the plan announced by the Prime Minister at the weekend he said that it was hoped that leisure and hospitality businesses might be able to start opening in July.

GLL made the announcement in a statement welcoming the decision by the Chancellor to extend the furlough programme which has helped to ensure that companies and organisations can continue to pay staff.

“The extension of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) at 80% until the end of October 2020 is fantastic news for our business and the leisure industry as a whole.  We are hoping to be in a position to start re-opening the leisure facilities we operate by mid-July. However, in practice this is likely to mean reducing our operational capacity significantly, in order to accommodate social distancing, to ensure staff safety and to allow for enhanced cleaning regimes.

“Because of this, we won’t be able to bring all our staff back to work initially and without the extension to the furlough scheme we might have had to consider redundancies.  The ability to bring staff back in a phased way, with some working part-time, but still have a proportion of their wages covered by the JRS, will be hugely helpful and give us the increased flexibility we need in order to gradually return to our normal working levels but it is vital for low paid staff that this support stays at 80% and is not reduced, as the threat of the Coronavirus recedes.

“We are planning the adaptations that we could make to our leisure centres, ready for when the Government gives the green light to the leisure sector to get back to work.  For example, moving exercises classes into the open air, reducing the amount of equipment within gym areas, or relocating it into sports halls, having an advance booking system that limits the number of visitors to a leisure centre at any one time and closing early to allow for daily deep cleaning.

 “In the interim we are also offering free online fitness classes and exercises via a dedicated app. We envisage a migration back to centre-based activities over the coming months as the country gradually comes out of lockdown and consumer confidence in public facilities and spaces grows.”

GLL CEO, Mark Sesnan

GLL runs leisure centres in Cornwall under a contract with Cornwall Council.

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