Gyms and swimming pools to reopen and outdoor performances allowed in latest round of lockdown lifting

Outdoor swimming pools in England are to begin reopening from Saturday, with indoor pools, gyms and other sports facilities to follow on July 25, the Government has announced.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 5:20 pm

In the latest easing of lockdown restrictions, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also published guidance to enable competitive grassroots team sports to resume, beginning with cricket this weekend.

Outdoor arts performances – including theatres, opera, dance and music – will also be able to resume from the weekend although audience numbers will be restricted and will be subject to social distancing rules.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said a change in planning rules will also mean theatres, concert halls and live music venues will be protected from demolition or change of use by developers, stopping those that have been made temporarily vacant during lockdown disappearing altogether.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). Photo: PA
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). Photo: PA

Mr Dowden said in a statement: “Our culture, heritage and arts are too precious to lose. That’s why we’re protecting venues like theatres from redevelopment if they fall on hard times.

“We are also giving further clarity on restart dates in our roadmap back to performance. From July 11 we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing and we are working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can, following pilots.”

Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street he said: "