Camden leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools set to open on Saturday 25 July

Camden’s leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools are preparing to reopen to both members and non-members on Saturday 25 July 2020 following the Government announcement that we are permitted to do so.

Camden is working closely with its leisure partner and operator GLL to ensure its facilities are Covid-19 secure ahead of reopening on Saturday 25 July.

Services and activities will be re-introduced in phases to manage capacity and public safety, starting with gym, swim lanes and group exercise for the first few weeks. The swimming pool at Pancras Square Leisure will also reopen slightly later, due to essential maintenance works, in early August.

Following government guidelines, Oasis outdoor pool has now reopened for swimmers. Please visit the centre’s website for more information and to book a session.

At Talacre Sports Centre, the council will also be running a full summer holiday scheme for Camden’s young people, aged between 8 to 16 years.

GLL will contact all leisure centre members inviting them to ‘unfreeze’ their membership. 85% of our customers opted to freeze their membership during the height of the pandemic, rather than cancel it.

Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Promoting Culture and Communities
“We will be preparing thoroughly and taking all possible precautions to make our facilities as safe as possible for residents and staff. We are also going to have to reintroduce activity in a phased way to ensure we can maximise safety and fully adhere to social distancing requirements – which are a condition for us reopening and we will insist on. We must all keep on social distancing to stop the virus spreading, as we begin to open up.

“Exercise is so important for our physical and mental health – so whether you want to continue exercising in our parks or open spaces, where our excellent free outdoor gyms are now once again accessible, or get back to the pool and gym, please do take advantage of the increased opportunities to get fit and healthy this summer – you will feel the difference.”
Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Promoting Culture and Communities

Leisure centre users must pre-book and pay online remotely or at the centres by card only. Each leisure centre user will only be allowed one hour on site for each activity. Users may attend one activity type (Swim, Gym and Fitness Class) per day effectively allowing customers to attend three sessions, provided they pre-book and leave the centre after an activity and then re-enter for their subsequent activities, according to the Covid-19 secure building circulation protocols. Regular sanitisation of all facilities will take place.

Physical changes to the environment in our leisure facilities to enable social distancing will include:

  • reducing the amount of gym stations and relocating some equipment to other rooms (eg squash courts) to allow a 2 metre gap between users 
  • reallocating sports halls as studio space, increasing capacity for group exercise
  • only changing rooms in swimming pools will reopen initially
  • doubling the width swimming lanes
  • 3 metre individual bays will be created within exercise studios to ensure a minimum of 2 metres between users during classes
  • separate entrance and exits

The phasing for the resumption of activities, which is subject to review, is as follows:

Phase one - from Saturday 25 July to end August/early September 2020 (6-8 weeks):

  • Higher-demand services will be re-introduced - gyms, lane swimming and group exercise.
  • These will be available in bookable slots. Non-members can register on GLL’s website or via the Better app and get a free booking membership.
  • All customers are strongly encouraged to book and pay online or via the app in advance of attending the centre, but will be able to book in-centre if they don’t have access to the internet.
  • There will be no ‘front of house’ reception function in the early phases or cash transactions.

Phase two – from September to December 2020:

  • Potential resumption of swimming lessons and courses, albeit with reduced capacity depending on the government guidance at the time.
  • School swimming lessons could also be resumed.
  • Some of the council’s targeted physical activity programmes for citizens with long term conditions, such adult weight management and exercise on referral, could be reintroduced with a reduced capacity.

Phase three – from January 2021 to June 2021:

  • A further rollout and expansion of phases one and two, increasing the amount of users and capacity and reintroducing further services and provisions.

GLL’s systems conform to national Covid-19 guidance developed by an industry taskforce led by UK Active with representatives from Sport England, cross-sector leisure centre operators, and National Governing Bodies for sport and physical activity.

  • The all-weather pitches attached to leisure centres will remain out of use - except for supervised activities like football coaching where social distancing can be controlled.
  • Gymnastics will resume at Talacre Community Sports Centre with reduced capacity for social distancing.
  • Clubs based at our centres will resume late September/ early October.