Boris Johnson has said gyms will be able to reopen in a “couple of weeks”.
Speaking on LBC on Friday, the prime minister said: “The best way forward for the country is to get the economy moving again.
“We are going to reopen gyms as soon as we can do it in a Covid-secure way and I think that the date for reopening gyms at the moment, if we can do it, is in just a couple of weeks’ time.”
The announcement comes 24 hours before the biggest lockdown-easing measures in months.
Saturday 4 July will see the hospitality industry reopen in England, with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers, cinemas, art galleries and museums permitted to open to the public.
All services opening to the public are having to follow strict Covid-secure guidelines. including implementing social distancing, screens at counters, encouraging customers to stay at tables and away from bars for ordering food and drinks, and regularly washing their hands.
Outdoor playground and gyms were also included in the 4 July measures but indoor facilities have continued to remain closed because of the increased risk of virus transmission inside.
Other places that remain closed include swimming pools and nightclubs – also deemed higher risk.
Although the devolved nations are on a different lockdown-easing roadmap to England, on Friday it was announced museums, gyms and libraries were expected to reopen in Glasgow throughout August and September.
On 24 June the chief executive of David Lloyd Clubs, Glenn Earlam, blasted Mr Johnson’s choice to exclude gyms from 4 July openings as “completely illogical”.
“So what we hear is that pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen, but health and fitness facilities won’t be able to,” said the CEO. “To us, this is bizarre because we are part of the solution.”
He added: “The chief medical officer has regularly said that health and fitness is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from Covid-19.”
PureGym, one of the UK’s largest operators with more than one million members, said in a statement: “We understand that these decisions are not easy, but it is a strange ‘war on obesity’ that sees pubs and restaurants open before gyms.
“Our facilities are, on average, the size of five or six doubles tennis courts and are exceptionally well ventilated, enabling people to work and exercise safely and securely.”
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