Leisure centres across the High Peak are set to start a phased re-opening from this weekend, but swimmers will have longer to wait to return to the water in local pools.
The leisure centres in Buxton, Glossop and New Mills will reopen from Saturday (25 July), with gyms and exercise classes initially restarting with reduced numbers of participants and opening hours.
The borough council say it has worked with its leisure partner Lex Leisure to ensure the facilities are Covid-secure. Additional signage, hand sanitiser gel stations and Perspex screens at receptions have been installed alongside other safety and enhanced cleaning measures.
All users will need to book their session or class via the leisure centre app or at leisurecentre.com, to help manage the number of people in the buildings at any one time and also facilitate track and trace if required. Casual users will not be able to just turn up for the time being.
All customers will be asked to come changed and ready to take part in their activity or session, as changing rooms will not be open during this initial phase of re-opening.
Sports halls will also be used in addition to studios for exercise classes.
Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, Deputy Council Leader and Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said: “We know people have really missed being able to come to leisure centres and take part in the physical activity that was so much a part of their lives before the lockdown so it’s great news that our leisure centres will be re-opening on a phased basis.
“Being active and moving more has so many benefits for both and physical and mental health and, for many people, this period has brought into focus the importance of looking after ourselves in this way and enhancing our wellbeing.
“People can be absolutely assured that our leisure centres are completely safe – we and our leisure partners Lex Leisure have enhanced cleaning and hygiene systems in place to keep everyone safe. There will obviously be some changes to the way leisure centres operate and we thank people in advance for co-operating with these changes to allow these much-valued facilities to start to re-open.”
But the wait for swimmers to visit their local pools goes on.
The borough council say these facilities in Glossop, New Mills and Buxton are set to reopen "a few weeks later".
It says this is due to the "uncertainty of when government would permit the reopening of swimming pools, widely thought to be September at the earliest, coupled with the greater level of preparation time required to re-open pools".
Work to repair and maintain the pools is set to start this month now that external contractors are fully operation again, the council adds.
Cllr Greenhalgh said: “We know swimmers will be keen to return to the water but it is essential that we can provide a safe environment for them to do that. So we’re taking this opportunity to carry out essential maintenance works and to ensure we have in place the necessary measures in readiness for welcoming swimmers back. I’d like to thank people for their ongoing patience during what has been a challenging period for us all.”
More information about online booking, opening hours and what users can expect is available at www.leisurecentre.com/welcome-back.