Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools continue to report extremely low rates of COVID-19 among people who have visited their facilities since the sector reopened, according to new figures published by ukactive today (9 December).
As the fitness and leisure sector approaches the January period, confidence in safety standards remains very high, thanks to ongoing measures, reporting and professionalism from operators.
The latest results show an overall rate of 0.83 cases per 100,000 visits, measured from 12 April 2021 to 21 November 2021 – indicating that rates of COVID-19 among people using fitness and leisure facilities remain low.
The UK continues to set a benchmark for COVID-19 reporting, thanks to the largest sector safety data monitoring operation in Europe.
Since restrictions were eased from April, the ukactive Research Institute has continued to collect data on a weekly basis from more than 1,500 facilities across the UK, representing more than 125 million visits from April to November 2021.
Supported by ukactive’s ‘Fit Together’ campaign, operators have shown their commitment to maintaining high safety standards after Government restrictions were relaxed, helping to reassure employees and the public that their gym, leisure centre or fitness class, is a safe place to work in and a safe place to work out.
The results, which will feature in a new Europe-wide report to be released by EuropeActive, show that while the case rate for the UK’s general population has fluctuated over the time period, the prevalence of the virus has remained extremely low in the UK fitness and leisure sector.
In terms of the overall rate measured across the whole period since the sector’s first reopening in 2020, data from 25 July 2020 to 21 November 2021 shows that facilities in the UK have seen more than 160 million visits, with an overall rate of 1.6 cases per 100,000 visits.
Using a methodology and framework distinct to the UK, the data collected by the ukactive Research Institute since facilities reopened from late-July 2020 has risen from 1,087 sites to a maximum of 1,998 in any one week, as momentum has grown and the power of building a sizeable sector-wide data set has been realised.
The sites include a mixture of facility types, including gyms, leisure centres and boutiques, as well as different operating models, including private multi-site chains, public leisure trusts and independent operators and studios.
Gym and leisure centre operators are well positioned to capture real-time data effectively, based on membership details held within their databases, as well as recording details for all users, in line with relevant data protection requirements.
This allows for quick and relevant contact tracing if there is a case reported by someone who has visited a facility and then gone on to test positive.
Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “The fitness and leisure sector has gone above and beyond in its dedication to customer and staff safety, with laser-focused attention to high standards of cleanliness, and this is seen once again in the safety data we are publishing today, which shows tens of millions of people using these facilities each week, confident in their safety.
“Furthermore, the nation’s gyms, pools, leisure centres and studios are essential for helping people to recover from the pandemic both mentally and physically, and the Government will require our sector’s support more than ever in the coming months as we look to turn around the decline in our activity levels that worsened as a result of the pandemic.”