‘Why close gyms?’ - Durkan questions rationale of including fitness suites in COVID restrictions

Mark H Durkan.Mark H Durkan.
Mark H Durkan.
SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has expressed concerns over the closure of gyms due to the new restrictions introduced from today.

During a Covid 19 Assembly debate this week, the Derry politician questioned Health Minister Robin Swann over the rationale of closing fitness centres.

The Foyle MLA highlighted the ‘positive and essential’ role that exercise plays in people’s lives.

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Gyms play a vital role in the preservation and promotion of not just physical health but more so people’s mental wellbeing. For many, gyms have been a crutch to escape for an hour or so from the pressures of everyday life. An aspect which has proved even more important as we navigate our way through the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

Mr. Durkan believes gyms have followed the correct guidelines and feels that they’ve been “undermined” by the new measures put in place by Stormont.

“Gyms have gone above and beyond to ensure their premises and practices are sanitised and safe,” he said.

“While I appreciate the Health Minister must make a difficult and nuanced approach based on the evidence presented to him, this decision surrounding gyms will be disappointing for so many. Not just service users but gym owners who have struggled to generate an income through their normal channels given the cessation of exercise classes in recent months. The reality remains that some will not be able to open their doors again.”