Medway Council is set to reopen two of its sports centres later this month.
Yesterday (9 July), Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden set out further plans to ease lockdown restrictions which included beauticians, tattooists, spas and tanning salons being able to reopen from Monday, 13 July. He also announced that indoor gyms, swimming pools and dance studios could reopen from Saturday, 25 July.
Medway Council will reopen Medway Park, in Gillingham, and Strood Sports Centre on Saturday, 25 July.
Hoo Sports Centre and Splashes Sports Centre in Rainham will remain closed until further notice. Earlier this week Cabinet approved plans to invest up to £5million to refurbish and future-proof Splashes Sports Centre in Rainham. The investment will be discussed at the Full Council meeting on 16 July. If approved, the centre will remain closed whilst the improvement works take place. Hoo Sports Centre will reopen in due course. All members can use Medway Park and Strood Sports Centres.
The outdoor swimming pools at The Strand in Gillingham will not reopen this summer.
A range of activities will be available for customers at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre including the fitness gym, lane swimming, fitness classes, badminton, table tennis, short tennis, athletics (at Medway Park), football training (at Strood Sports Centre). More activities will be available in line with government advice, and the advice of national sport governing bodies, when published. All activities must be booked online in advance.
The council has been working on plans to be able to safely reopen more of its services throughout July, in line with government guidelines and including social distancing measures and a number of measures are in place at our two centres to keep both visitors and staff safe.
Screens have been installed in the reception areas at both centres and the number of visitors to the centres will be limited.
Social distancing measures and regular cleaning regimes will be put in place at both centres to help protect staff and customers.
The following social distancing measures will be put in place at both centres:
The council will be introducing lane swimming only at both centres. To maintain social distancing, a booking system is being introduced and customers will be able to book a lane for up to 60 minutes. Families will be able to book lane swimming in a designated family lane for a family of four. Children must be aged eight or over and able to swim a length unaided. The teaching pools, and boom pool at Medway Park will be available to book within this session for a family of four.
The sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool at Strood Sports Centre will remain closed until further notice.
Changing rooms at both centres will only be available for customers who are going swimming and it is advised that visitors use the same changing room before and after swimming. They will then be cleaned for the next swimming session. All showers will remain closed and customers are advised to arrive ready for swimming and to shower at home. Toilets will be open and extra cleaning regimes will be in place. Lockers will be available, but customers are advised to bring the correct change, £1 for Medway Park and 50p for Strood, which is returnable.
Customers will be able to book hourly slots only and use of the athletics track will be included in the booking. Certain pieces of equipment have been removed from the gym floor and studios, while sports classes will be held in larger rooms, which will help enable social distancing. Shared items such as mats will not be available, and customers are advised to bring their own.
Customers will be asked to use blue paper towels and sanitising sprays, which will be available in the gym to wipe down equipment after they have used it. There will also be cleaners stationed around the gym floor to assist with cleaning down equipment, so it is sanitised and ready to be used by other customers. Personal hand towels will not be permitted in the gym.
Bookings and payment
All customers wishing to visit the centres must pre-book and pay for the session online, in advance. Booking will open on Wednesday, 15 July.
Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre will be open from 7am to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday.
NHS Test and trace
When booking sessions visitors to Medway’s sports centres will be asked to supply their name, email, phone number and postcode. These details will be kept for 21 days and will be handed to the National NHS Test and Trace system if needed, as part of the government’s response to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
We have worked tirelessly to get our centres ready to reopen safely
Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are at last able to reopen Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre later on this month. The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff is of the highest importance to us and we have worked tirelessly to get our gyms, sports halls, swimming pools and all other areas ready to reopen safely. We have introduced a range of new social distancing measures to ensure our customers are able to enjoy our centres safely. I would encourage residents and visitors to be patient as we adjust to this new way of doing things. We must all play our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Medway.
“I would like to thank our Sports team who have worked so hard throughout the pandemic. As residents were unable to come to us, we took sports to them in their homes, providing 50 virtual exercise classes over 13 weeks, for all abilities, during the pandemic. One of the classes even featured on Good Morning Britain. Several members of the team were also redeployed to provide a shopping service for our most vulnerable residents and they did an amazing job helping almost 500 people who could not get out and shop for themselves. We are very proud of everything they did to help the people of Medway during this difficult time.”