A YORK MP says he’s happy to lobby ministers to try and get gyms back open as soon as possible.

Duncan Bannatyne called on York Outer MP Julian Sturdy to back the re-opening of his York health club at Nether Poppleton following the Government’s decision not to allow it.

Mr Sturdy said: “I am sympathetic to concerns that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres will not be able to open from July 4, and think the government should seriously consider bringing this forward from the current projected date of mid July for those sites that demonstrate they can open safely. I appreciate that many gyms and leisure centres, with spacious rooms and good air extraction systems, can operate just as safely as the eateries and pubs due to open on the 4th.

“As lockdown is gradually eased in line with the state of the virus, I believe we have to move from a system of blanket restrictions for whole sectors, to more flexible arrangements, where the opening of individual locations depends on the ability of each to prevent covid transmission.

“I am more than happy to lobby Ministers on behalf of affected local venues.”

Among the points Mr Bannatyne is making are:

• All members have electronic wristbands enable clubs to track and trace our members, telling us who is in the club and when.

• Health clubs are larger that most gyms (approx. 20,000 sq ft) and – when combined with extensive hygiene rules – will enable social distancing at two metres (more than now required for pubs)

Mr Bannatyne said: “The size of our health clubs and our wristband technology are real differentiators and should be taken into consideration when the government is making its calculations and revised guidelines for the re-opening of gyms and health clubs.

“Its broad brush ruling that is preventing us from opening hasn’t considered investments in technology that can actually help the government and the NHS manage outbreaks.”

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to work with representatives from the gym and leisure centre sectors on plans for a safe, phased reopening with the ambition for this to happen from mid-July, subject to public health guidance. We need to make sure plans are comprehensive with all risks minimised.”