According to new research from ukactive, which calls for immediate government assistance to protect employment and keep the industry afloat, the winter closure would cost Britain’s gyms, swimming pools and leisure facilities a combined £ 90 million a week in lost revenue.
January, with many individuals renewing their gym or pool membership or beginning a new fitness program, is a vital month for the leisure industry.
But the industry is in major trouble with most sports banned for another six weeks – and probably longer – ukactive, representing more than 4,000 gyms and leisure facilities, said.
“The government needs to protect this sector as a priority before it is too late,” said Ukactive CEO Huw Edwards. “January and February are a vital time for gyms, pools and leisure facilities to trade, but unlike other sectors, they currently have no revenue.”
The government launched a £ 100 million fund for the whole industry last fall, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed on Monday that £ 9,000 in one-off grants would also be made available to small businesses.
But this support, Ukactive says, is far from enough.
“The additional grants and funding announced by the chancellor, while welcome, are nothing more than a band-aid for the financial challenges we face,” said Edwards. “Both public and private fitness and recreation providers will need additional, tailored financial and regulatory support for their recovery.”
Meanwhile, 4Global’s latest report, which offers data analysis for governments and sports federations, found that sports industry regulations cost the U.K. In November, £29 million in social benefit – a statistic based on the sector’s commitment via exercise to reducing health problems such as depression, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.
This, Edwards said, means that the closing of gyms, fitness centers and swimming pools in January and February poses a “major threat not only to thousands of facilities and jobs, but also to our nation’s health and resilience to diseases such as Covid-19, obesity and some cancers.”
Edwards also pointed to the findings of the first Lockdown in England, which found that the level of anxiety doubled from the average in 2019 – with an additional 3.2 million people identified as inactive and exercising fewer than 30 minutes a week, as more proof of further government help.
The Community Sports Trust has also urged the government to do more to help young people remain involved.
Meanwhile, the Guardian has been advised by sports scientist Greg Whyte that the UK is heading for a “perfect storm” in which a drop in exercise levels would have a catastrophic impact on physical and mental health during the winter shutdown.
Whyte also called on the government to use the 400,000 workers who work but are on leave in the fitness industry to motivate the population to be more involved.