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Gyms are reopening in London: here’s what you need to know

Expect curtains between treadmills, temperature checks and mandatory pre-booking

Kate Lloyd

Gyms reopen in London on Saturday July 25 for the first time since the UK went into lockdown – but don’t expect your favourite sweat zones to be just as you left them.

The leisure centres, fitness studios and gyms that do reopen will have to follow a set of strict social-distancing guidelines, spanning from how many people can use a space to what equipment is up for grabs. What do these rules mean for you, the endorphin-loving Londoner?

For a start, venues will have to have a pre-booking system in place. This will help make sure that spaces aren’t too crowded and track-and-trace procedures can be implemented if necessary. Equipment will be spaced two metres apart and there’ll be no sweat towels allowed in the workout space. Gyms are building on these rules to produce their own guidelines. 

Group classes are happening but won’t involve collaboration or moving around. Clapton- and Shoreditch-based fitness studio Blok announced on its website that it will be reducing capacity and staggering classes more in order to help people social distance. Exercisers will work out in a single spot, there’ll be no sharing of equipment and studios will be deep cleaned after sessions. Blok will also be implementing sanitising stations at the gym’s entrance and will be keeping the changing rooms closed.

Spaces including Frame and Fighter Fit are now running outdoor classes. Meanwhile, many gyms are finding ways to separate clients. Spinning and box fit chain 1Rebel is putting up perspex screens between bikes and curtains between treadmills as well as introducing temperature checks on arrival. All are welcoming visitors who want to wear masks. 

With many people taking up online exercise classes or park workouts over the past few months, it will be interesting to see how many of us actually get back in the gym. 

Read a deep dive on what gyms will be like on their return.

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