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Leaders ask for Government clarity on gym closures

by Gemma Melling

A joint statement on the closure of gyms in our region has been issued this afternoon (Friday, 16 October, 2020) from the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the six Liverpool City Region Local Authorities.

They say: “We are very conscious of the high rates of coronavirus in our region and the pressure this causes on our NHS, and have therefore always understood the need for some action to bring the virus under control and protect our residents. However, we have always been clear that we were given no choice about the specific package of measures that would be applied to us, or the scientific evidence to support them.

“We note the decision to move Lancashire into Tier 3 today, while also being concerned that there appear to be differences between the two packages of measures, particularly the opening of gyms. We therefore require Government to explain, with evidence, why they believe gyms in the Liverpool City Region are a greater risk for COVID transmission, than those elsewhere.

“We simply will not accept our region being treated differently to other Tier 3 areas, without robust scientific evidence. These inconsistencies in restrictions between areas within the same tier risk undermining the new system from the beginning.

“So, today we are once again demanding that government urgently supplies us with the scientific evidence behind their decision to close gyms in our area, while allowing them to stay open in other areas.

“In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to support hospitality and leisure businesses that are affected by the new restrictions via our own £40m emergency fund, using local funds that have been repurposed to support our economy. The fund has opened for applications today, and we are continuing to press the Government for a wider economic support package, including increased funding for furlough and self-employed people.”

Signed:

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Council

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council

Joe Anderson OBE, Mayor of Liverpool

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council

Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council

Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader of Wirral Council