Are gyms closing in lockdown? What Covid restrictions mean for fitness centres, and when they could open again

A second national lockdown will come into force as of Thursday 5 November to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the latest measures alongside chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty during a press conference at Downing Street on Saturday.

As with the first lockdown, everyone in England will be banned from leaving their home except for a list of specific circumstances including going to school, commuting to work if you cannot work at home, seeking medical care or buying essential supplies.

But will gyms close again? Here’s what the second lockdown means for fitness centres.

Are gyms closing again?

Gyms and fitness centres were one of the last businesses to reopen at the end of July, following the first lockdown in spring.

Sadly, under the latest lockdown rules, they are set to close again.

Gyms were among the last businesses to reopen following the first lockdown in spring (Photo: David Davies/PA)

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, including bowling alleys, swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, as well as dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks will also have to shut their doors.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave.

How long are they going to stay closed for?

Ms Johnson said will last from Thursday 5 November until 2 December.

This means that gyms and all other sports facilities will remain closed for at least four weeks.

Although Cabinet minister Michael Gove on Sunday added that England’s national lockdown could last longer than four weeks, if the R rate is not successfully brought below 1.0 by the end of the proposed lockdown period.

Why are gyms closing?

The closures of gyms are part of the second lockdown measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 cases as fresh data showed the second wave could be deadlier than the first.

Mr Johnson performed the U-turn after Government scientists presented data which showed that without drastic action, the NHS was on track to run out of capacity by the first week of December – even if all elective procedures are cancelled and Nightingale hospitals are reactivated.

Individuals will still be allowed to exercise outdoors, either on their own, with one person from another household or with their support bubble (Photo: Coralie Datta/Historic England/PA)

It is understood the Prime Minister changed his mind on the merits of going back into lockdown when modellers from the Spi-M subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies presented him with figures showing that NHS capacity will be exhausted on 4 December if hospitalisations continue on their current trajectory.

A further 162 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, while there were 23,254 new lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing

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Fact-checking Trump’s closing arguments on covid-19

In the final days of the campaign, President Trump continues to flood the zone with false and misleading claims about the coronavirus pandemic.



a man standing in front of a crowd: (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)


(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Cases have been spiking across the country, while Trump insists “we’re rounding the turn.” The president continues to assert that U.S. infections are rising “because we do more testing than anybody else,” when experts say the main reason is the spreading disease.

In recent interviews, Trump has responded with denials and attacks when journalists Savannah Guthrie of NBC and Lesley Stahl of CBS fact-checked his claims on camera. The president tells crowds that media coverage of the pandemic is meant to damage him politically and “should be an election law violation.”

Here’s a roundup of several coronavirus claims Trump has been repeating in the closing days of the race.

‘Rounding the turn’

“We have made tremendous progress with the China Virus, but the Fake News refuses to talk about it this close to the Election. COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by them, in total coordination, in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!”

Trump tweet, Oct. 26

“We’re rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines, we’re rounding the turn, it’s going to be over.”

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 25

As of Oct. 28 at 7:50 p.m., the United States has more than 8.8 million reported coronavirus cases and at least 227,000 deaths, according to The Washington Post covid-19 tracker.

The rate of new cases per week began to climb in mid-September and is currently climbing, showing the United States experiencing a third wave of the disease after two earlier surges in 2020. More than 70,000 new cases are reported every day at current levels.

When comparing the 20 countries most affected by the coronavirus, the United States is fifth in deaths per 100,000 people. Only Belgium, Spain, Brazil and Mexico have higher fatality rates, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Swing states

“At some point, we’re turning that corner, and it’s been pretty amazing. Florida had a rough time. Boom. … It’s all the way down. Texas, all the way down. Arizona, great governors, all the way down.”

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Omaha, Oct. 27

“All he [former vice president Joe Biden] does is talk about shutdowns. But forget about him. His Democrat governors: Cuomo in New York, you look at what’s going on in California, you look at Pennsylvania, North Carolina. Democrats — Democrats all. They’re shut down so tight, and they’re dying.”

— Trump, at the presidential debate in Nashville, Oct. 22

“In Pennsylvania, you can’t go to church … can’t go to restaurants.”

— Trump, at a campaign rally in Martinsburg, Pa., Oct. 26

Arizona, Florida and Texas are battleground states governed by Republicans. North Carolina and Pennsylvania, run by Democrats, are also possible swing states in this year’s presidential race.

Trump says the “red” states are

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Hours after Lightfoot announces new COVID-19 restrictions, Birx warns during Chicago visit that closing public spaces won’t be enough

CHICAGO — Just hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new restrictions on businesses in response to rising COVID-19 cases, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned that closing public spaces won’t be enough to stop the illness’s spread.



a person wearing a suit and tie: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks before delivering her budget address on October 21, 2020, in Council Chambers at City Hall.


© Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks before delivering her budget address on October 21, 2020, in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Birx said it’s possible some of the recent spread is happening in people’s homes, during family gatherings, as the weather gets colder. She spoke at a news conference following a private meeting with leaders from Rush University System for Health, Northwestern Medicine and the Illinois and Chicago departments of public health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

“It won’t be as simple as closing public spaces because public spaces … were very safe over the summer and probably remain safe,” Birx said. “This is really something that has happened in the last three to four weeks. What has happened in the last three to four weeks is that people have moved their social gatherings indoors.”

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a curfew for nonessential businesses and no more indoor service at bars that don’t serve food. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has also announced tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in suburban counties with high COVID-19 positivity rates.

On Thursday the state announced 4,942 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the statewide rolling positivity rate stood at 5.7%, up from 3.7% two weeks earlier. In Illinois, 2,463 patients were in the hospital with COVID-19, according to Thursday figures, up from 1,812 two weeks earlier.

Birx also said Thursday that she advocated for weekly testing while meeting privately with hospital and public health leaders.

She said, at the news conference, that finding the “silent cases” and asymptomatic cases is “critical in preventing community spread.”

She recommended asking certain community members — such as community college students, teachers or hospital workers — if they would be willing to be tested weekly. She said universities that have tested students weekly have had more success limiting infections than those that only tested students who had been directly exposed to COVID-19 or had symptoms.

Birx said testing, along with mask-wearing and social distancing, are key to getting the spread of COVID-19 under control.

When asked what she’s doing to get President Donald Trump to understand the importance of social distancing and mask-wearing, she said: “My public health guidance is consistent no matter who I’m speaking to. I think you can see there’s a diversity of how people relate to that message.”

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Surging coronavirus colors White House race in closing days

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump assured supporters packed shoulder to shoulder at weekend rallies that “we’re rounding the turn” on the coronavirus and mocked challenger Joe Biden for raising alarms about the pandemic, despite surging cases around the country and more positive infections at the White House.

Trump’s remarks came Saturday, hours before the White House announced that a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence had tested positive for the virus. Pence has been in close contact with the adviser, the White House said, but still planned to keep traveling and holding rallies around the country.

The revelation of another high-ranking administration official testing positive for the virus coupled with the administration’s decision to continue business as usual punctuated a day that marked the starkly different approaches that Trump and Biden are taking to campaigning in the age of the novel coronavirus.

Pence’s office confirmed late Saturday that his chief of staff, Marc Short, had tested positive — the public announcement coming just as Trump was wrapping up a day of big rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, three battleground states that will have enormous impact on deciding the Nov. 3 election.

Trump commented on Short early Sunday after his plane landed at Joint Base Andrews, outside Washington. “I did hear about it just now,” he said. “And I think he’s quarantining. Yeah. I did hear about it. He’s going to be fine. But he’s quarantining.”

Pence is considered a “close contact” under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, but will continue to campaign, his spokesman said. “In consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel,” Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley said. The guidelines require that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.


O’Malley added that Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, both tested negative for the virus on Saturday “and remain in good health.” Pence, who held campaign events in Florida on Saturday, is set to campaign in North Carolina on Sunday.

The revelation bookended a day in which Biden and Trump demonstrated remarkably different attitudes about what they saw as safe behavior in the homestretch of a campaign that, as with all aspects of American life, has been upended by the pandemic.

“We don’t want to become superspreaders,” Biden told supporters at a “drive-in” rally Saturday in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, picking up a term that has been used to describe the Rose Garden event in late September in which Trump announced his latest Supreme Court nominee. More than two dozen people linked to the White House have contracted COVID-19 since that gathering, as have campaign aides. Trump spent more than three days hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center after becoming stricken.

Biden pressed his case that Trump was showing dangerous indifference to the surging virus on a day he looked to boost his

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