LEISURE centres in York are changing their operations following the government’s easing of restrictions from Monday, July 19.

The city's newest facility, York Leisure Centre, which is part of the new Community Stadium complex at Monks Cross, has announced it will be making ‘positive changes’ to its services, from increased class sizes to reopening changing rooms.

However, users are being urged to continue to support its ‘safe, better, stronger’ approach by continuing to clean the equipment before and after use, and being mindful of others.

The facilities are run by Better, the trading name of GLL, a national company running leisure centres for councils across the country. It also runs Yearsley Pool, Burnholme Sports Centre and Energise Leisure Centre.

Paul Bickle, the Better partnership manager for York, said: “Working within the Government’s new guidelines, from July 19 there will be some changes in the way that we operate our leisure centres.

"Showers, changing rooms and lockers will again be available to customers. However, while we are not asking people to arrive ‘activity ready’ anymore, we would still encourage them to do so when possible.

“Cafés communal and spectator areas will reopen and we will be increasing capacity within our gyms, fitness classes and in our pools.

“We’re still asking customers book in advance via the Better app or online (although it will be possible to book in centre) and that they bring their own hand sanitiser, towel and water bottle.

“We will be encouraging all customers to continue to use the sanitisation stations around the building and wipe down gym equipment after use and we suggest that they wear face coverings in busy areas.”

From Monday, water fountains will be available, but people need to take their own bottle.

“Throughout the past year, some activities and adult classes have been put on pause and we’re currently working to re-launch these,” said a spokesman in a letter to leisure centre members.

The centre is maintaining QR codes for Test and Trace at every entrance, as well as its cleaning programme, sanitisation stations in activity areas, among the measures to try and continue to keep people safe.

It is also stepping up ventilation so there will always be fresh air circulating in classes, the gym and pool which will also now have increased chlorine levels, according to the letter.

Monday's move to Step four was delayed to ensure more adults could be vaccinated and moved the end of restrictions closer to the school holidays.