The UK Government has this evening (Thursday 9th July) confirmed the dates when indoor and outdoor pools can re-open in England.
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced that outdoor pools will be allowed to re-open from Saturday 11th July, with indoor pools to follow suit from Saturday 25th July.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing pools to close from Friday 20th March, this is a welcome relief for the whole of the aquatics community in the UK, who have been lobbying for an update since it was confirmed that cinemas, pubs and restaurants could re-open on Saturday 4th July.
The #OpenOurPools campaign, led by Swim England, has received fantastic support over the past two weeks, with over 50,000 people signing the petition for the government to reconsider its position on pools and leisure centres. A number of British Swimming stars, including Adam Peaty and Ellie Simmonds, have supported the campaign both on their social media channels and in interviews, which has only helped tonight’s decision.
Of the news, British Swimming’s Chief Executive, Jack Buckner, said:
“This is the news we have all been waiting for, so congratulations to everyone who has been working so hard to help us get to this position. But now the real work starts as indoor facilities in England prepare to re-open on Saturday 25th July. Between now and then, British Swimming will be sharing the best practice that it has devised under the ‘Return to Training’ protocols, which has seen a small number of our elite swimmers return to the water over the last few weeks.
“Whilst the 25th July is the key date in the diary, it clearly won’t be viable for all facilities to open on that day, for a whole host of practical, health & safety and financial reasons, so we must be aware and respect that. We are also awaiting similar updates from the Scottish and Welsh governments, who will hopefully follow England’s lead in the not too distant future.”
“When the day comes for you to get back in the water, enjoy it, but please stay safe and follow the guidelines that have been put in place.”