It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Mundell. I thank my hon. Friend Nick Fletcher for securing this important debate. I would like to use my time to focus on the two petitions that relate to gyms. As I have said before in this place, gyms are incredibly important to people’s health and wellbeing. Therefore, their reopening is vital as we recover from this pandemic.
In July last year, as much of the country was reopening, my constituency was placed under enhanced local restrictions after the first lockdown. That meant that local gyms, such as NRGym and Hi-Energy in Keighley, were unable to reopen at the same time as gyms in the rest of the country. Of course, it was the same for all fitness and dance studios, such as the excellent AW School of Dance run by Andrea Wortley in Keighley and Pure Pilates in Ilkley, which is also an excellent business, run by Kirstin Ferrie. I have visited all those businesses to see how lockdown has impacted them.
Instead of these businesses being able to reopen on
Initiatives such as the furlough scheme have provided vital support to gyms that have been forced to close over the past year. I am pleased to hear of the Government’s announcement of the restart grants in this month’s Budget, which will provide an extra £18,000 for leisure and gym businesses. That will bring much certainty to those businesses so that all can eventually open safely, but there is never any substitute for being open. I am delighted, therefore, that gyms will be able to start opening in step 2 of the Government’s road map to easing the restrictions. The road map states that gyms will open no later than
This pandemic has made us all think differently about the importance of good physical and mental health. The reopening of gyms and dance and fitness studios is crucial in our recovery. I very much look forward to that happening across my constituency and the rest of Britain.