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Industry heavyweights Tanni Grey-Thompson, Humphrey Cobbold and Huw Edwards hit primetime TV to fight for gym reopening
POSTED 25 Jun 2020 . BY Liz Terry
Cobbold and Grey-Thompson hit the BBC's 5.00 o'clock news to fight for the gym sector Credit: BBC
Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chair of ukactive, Humphrey Cobbold, CEO of Pure Gym and ukactive board member and Huw Edwards CEO of ukactive, all appeared on the UK's BBC prime time TV last night (24 June) to represent the gym sector and challenge the government's "pubs before gyms" decision which looks likely to delay reopening of the activity sector until mid-July at the earliest.

The appearance follows Grey-Thompson's open letter to prime minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday, which called on him to justify his decision with science, allow the sector access to the chief medical officer and formally explain the reasons for not allowing reopening.

The challenge appears to be that the sector has still been classed as a ‘close proximity’ business – in spite of the detailed operating procedures which have been put in place.

In a doubleheader interview on the BBC’s 5.00 o'clock news programme, Grey-Thompson and Cobbold made the case for reopening, explaining how operating procedures will work. They also highlighted the economic impact of the sector, which employs 600,000 people, serves 10m members and turns over £7.7bn a year.

Savings to the health service of £3.3bn were also mentioned.

"We are just asking the government to think again," said Grey-Thompson. "The sector has been amazing in the way it's worked together. We've had really detailed plans in with the government since May 7th – in fact, the sector started looking at this and planning as we went into lockdown, so we are prepared."

"We want to reopen safely," she said, "we're very concerned that our contribution to the economy and to health and wellbeing seems to have been forgotten."

Grey-Thompson was asked if she felt something had been hidden or there was some kind of cover-up going on. She said: "We've been in more discussions and debates than I can count, and it feels as though we've just been pushed around in circles. It would be good to have some feedback to say what more the government wants the sector to do because we're prepared to do it."

Cobbold said: "We're bitterly disappointed – we've worked extremely hard to develop a series of safety protocols with medical experts in their fields, including Professor Greg Whyte, and we've worked – we thought – very closely with the government and their advisers in the DCMS to prepare those protocols.

"It was a big surprise that we weren't allowed to proceed yesterday, because up to that point we were given absolutely no indication that there were issues.”

Cobbold highlighted how Pure Gym's European clubs have been open for up to six weeks, using the same protocols as laid out in the ukactive guidelines that were presented to the DCMS on 7 May,.

He said: "I run a business which has 230 sites that are already open across Europe, so we've had had the opportunity to test the protocols we proposed putting in place in the UK.

"We've welcomed over a million people to our sites in Switzerland and Denmark in the last six weeks, we've been tested by the authorities 60 or 70 times and passed all those tests and as far as we're aware, we haven't had a single infection or transmission in those facilities.

"We're puzzling why this evidence – all of which has been provided to the government, didn't' even elicit a response from them, let alone lead to a good dialogue," he said, in a firm, but composed manner.

The two were challenged on gyms being a safe environment in terms of 'sweating, touching surfaces, heavy breathing and coming into contact with metal' Cobbold took this question and pushed back hard on all claims, explaining how safety protocols would eliminate these risks and how sweat does not transmit COVID-19.

He also explained how density of people in gyms will be managed to reduce risk, saying: "We can actually control the number of people who come in to the gym."

It's unfortunate that the news channels are lining up random scientists to speak against the gym sector, without having anyone from the sector to debate the points they're raising, with one – Dr Claire Taylor, a microbiologist from Edinburgh Napier University, making an unchallenged point on the programme that: "perspex screens may help, but they may end up covered in respiratory droplets and could end up being a potential site for contamination, “ something the gym sector has anticipated and covered in it’s new operating guidelines.

Huw Edwards appeared on the BBC's 6.00 o'clock news as part of a news segment that also featured swimmer, Adam Peaty. Peaty said "There has been a lack of clarity from the government and I don't feel the decision has been explained to any athlete or sports governing body."

Edwards said: “Everyone is desperate for a pint, but the reality is that this is a health crisis, and the best way to address a health crisis is by getting one of the key sectors that can combat COVID-19 and support the rehabilitation from COVID-19 up and running.”

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NEWS
Industry heavyweights Tanni Grey-Thompson, Humphrey Cobbold and Huw Edwards hit primetime TV to fight for gym reopening
POSTED 25 Jun 2020 . BY Liz Terry
Cobbold and Grey-Thompson hit the BBC's 5.00 o'clock news to fight for the gym sector Credit: BBC
Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chair of ukactive, Humphrey Cobbold, CEO of Pure Gym and ukactive board member and Huw Edwards CEO of ukactive, all appeared on the UK's BBC prime time TV last night (24 June) to represent the gym sector and challenge the government's "pubs before gyms" decision which looks likely to delay reopening of the activity sector until mid-July at the earliest.

The appearance follows Grey-Thompson's open letter to prime minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday, which called on him to justify his decision with science, allow the sector access to the chief medical officer and formally explain the reasons for not allowing reopening.

The challenge appears to be that the sector has still been classed as a ‘close proximity’ business – in spite of the detailed operating procedures which have been put in place.

In a doubleheader interview on the BBC’s 5.00 o'clock news programme, Grey-Thompson and Cobbold made the case for reopening, explaining how operating procedures will work. They also highlighted the economic impact of the sector, which employs 600,000 people, serves 10m members and turns over £7.7bn a year.

Savings to the health service of £3.3bn were also mentioned.

"We are just asking the government to think again," said Grey-Thompson. "The sector has been amazing in the way it's worked together. We've had really detailed plans in with the government since May 7th – in fact, the sector started looking at this and planning as we went into lockdown, so we are prepared."

"We want to reopen safely," she said, "we're very concerned that our contribution to the economy and to health and wellbeing seems to have been forgotten."

Grey-Thompson was asked if she felt something had been hidden or there was some kind of cover-up going on. She said: "We've been in more discussions and debates than I can count, and it feels as though we've just been pushed around in circles. It would be good to have some feedback to say what more the government wants the sector to do because we're prepared to do it."

Cobbold said: "We're bitterly disappointed – we've worked extremely hard to develop a series of safety protocols with medical experts in their fields, including Professor Greg Whyte, and we've worked – we thought – very closely with the government and their advisers in the DCMS to prepare those protocols.

"It was a big surprise that we weren't allowed to proceed yesterday, because up to that point we were given absolutely no indication that there were issues.”

Cobbold highlighted how Pure Gym's European clubs have been open for up to six weeks, using the same protocols as laid out in the ukactive guidelines that were presented to the DCMS on 7 May,.

He said: "I run a business which has 230 sites that are already open across Europe, so we've had had the opportunity to test the protocols we proposed putting in place in the UK.

"We've welcomed over a million people to our sites in Switzerland and Denmark in the last six weeks, we've been tested by the authorities 60 or 70 times and passed all those tests and as far as we're aware, we haven't had a single infection or transmission in those facilities.

"We're puzzling why this evidence – all of which has been provided to the government, didn't' even elicit a response from them, let alone lead to a good dialogue," he said, in a firm, but composed manner.

The two were challenged on gyms being a safe environment in terms of 'sweating, touching surfaces, heavy breathing and coming into contact with metal' Cobbold took this question and pushed back hard on all claims, explaining how safety protocols would eliminate these risks and how sweat does not transmit COVID-19.

He also explained how density of people in gyms will be managed to reduce risk, saying: "We can actually control the number of people who come in to the gym."

It's unfortunate that the news channels are lining up random scientists to speak against the gym sector, without having anyone from the sector to debate the points they're raising, with one – Dr Claire Taylor, a microbiologist from Edinburgh Napier University, making an unchallenged point on the programme that: "perspex screens may help, but they may end up covered in respiratory droplets and could end up being a potential site for contamination, “ something the gym sector has anticipated and covered in it’s new operating guidelines.

Huw Edwards appeared on the BBC's 6.00 o'clock news as part of a news segment that also featured swimmer, Adam Peaty. Peaty said "There has been a lack of clarity from the government and I don't feel the decision has been explained to any athlete or sports governing body."

Edwards said: “Everyone is desperate for a pint, but the reality is that this is a health crisis, and the best way to address a health crisis is by getting one of the key sectors that can combat COVID-19 and support the rehabilitation from COVID-19 up and running.”

RELATED STORIES
Push for U-turn on gym reopening decision after petition goes viral and Tanni tackles Boris


Momentum is gathering pace in the push for a U-turn on the government's decision to open pubs before gyms, with the industry and consumers joining the fight.
Pubs will reopen before gyms. Johnson backs away from 4 July reopening


Pubs are to open before gyms, to the bitter disappointment of the health and fitness sector.
Gyms could reopen by mid-July says Dowden, in a bid to stem anger at "pubs before gyms" debacle


Gyms in the UK could reopen by mid-July, according to a tweet, just posted by culture minister, Oliver Dowden.
Leaked document shows how government is planning 4 July reopening for gyms and spas in England


Journalists on The Times are reporting today that they’ve seen a leaked document confirming how the UK government will allow a range of leisure businesses in England, including gyms and spas, to reopen on 4 July with social distancing and hygiene controls in place.
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The Gym Group expects to be in profit on reopening
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European operations helped PureGym survive losses of £4m a week during lockdown
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EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
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COMPANY PROFILES
Myzone Group Ltd

For Health Club Operators, we provide a member engagement system that enhances the fitness experie [more...]
+ More profiles  
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Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

16-17 Jul 2020

APSWC Round Table 2020

Naman Resort, Da Nang, Vietnam
03-05 Aug 2020

World Fitness & Wellness Summit

Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore
+ More diary  
 


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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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