The decision follows a petition after gyms in Lancashire were allowed to stay open.
Gyms across the Liverpool City Region are set to reopen after the government agreed to standardise these restrictions for all Tier 3 lockdown areas. Liverpool gyms were ordered to close when the area was placed into Tier 3 of the government’s coronavirus restrictions. However, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram told BBC Radio Merseyside they would now be allowed to reopen but soft play areas would close.
There has been widespread anger across the region that gyms and leisure centres here were forced to close as the region was placed into the highest tier of the government’s new covid alert system. Lancashire was also placed into the highest tier, but was allowed to keep its gyms open, with Greater Manchester now being given the same deal.
A Merseyside gym that stayed open during the initial ban was fined £1,000. Police went to Body Tech Fitness in Moreton, Wirral, last week after owner Nick Whitcombe had repeatedly said on social media he would keep its doors open as it was “vital to physical and mental health”.
Liverpool City Region leaders, including the Metro Mayor, have campaigned against the decision after gyms in Lancashire were allowed to stay open when it entered tier 3. Speaking on BBC Radio Merseyside this morning, Mayor Rotheram read a statement from the region’s local leaders.
It said: “On behalf of the leaders and MPs I entered into further talks with 10 Downing Street to highlight the inconsistencies of the measures. We’ve consistently asked for the science behind the suite of measures. Talks continued late into last night and the government have agreed to bring us in line with other Tier 3 areas. This means that soft play areas will close, but gyms could reopen.” He added: “The government have agreed that they will include the provision to rescind their original decision when they lay their orders before Parliament tomorrow. This is the consistency we have asked for.”
Mayor Rotheram said that the order will mean the local authorities will be able to make the decisions on whether gyms can safely reopen, and giving them the ability to close businesses that they do not believe are acting safely. Local leaders have also negotiated a support package of around £50 million for the region from the government.