Rachael Maskell MP for York Central
Rachael Maskell MP for York Central

A recent debate on gyms and leisure centres was held in Westminster. I registered to speak but was not called in the debate. Please see my speech below πŸ‘‡

The York Covid story has been an incredible testimony of the ability of good public health being able to lock down the virus and protect the public. We are not through the woods, but the precision interventions have resulted in low infection rates since public health has led the response in York, and the more responsibility and resources available, the closer our brilliant local public health team can get to York becoming a Covid-free city.

However this doesn’t mean that we need to constantly lockdown core facilities in our city, it means that we have to ensure that they are Covid-secure.

Like all Health and Safety measures, inspecting a venue, retail outlet, workplace or sports centre as being safe enables it to open. It is what local environment health officers and trading standards do, alongside the HSE.

Steps to be taken: Inspect – Certificate – Ensure that there are clearly displayed contacts so any concerns can be raised – and a fast response to those concerns made.

I know that extraordinary steps have been taken to ensure that sports venues and gyms are Covid-secure – if certificated it will give even greater confidence to the public and Government, If this were in place, can the Minister say why they should close in future?

Because my constituents have certainly told me why they should remain open:

In their words:

“I have children with SEN, one of which receives just 4.5 hours school time per week and our ability to go to our local gym and exercise is absolutely vital for our health, physically and mentally.”

“My personal experience is that they are the safest places I have been to, constantly cleaned and you are able to distance and control your own hygiene/sanitisation regime.”

“It’s a lifeline for many people to help manage stress and anxiety.”

“I have worked 7 days per week for less pay than normal, home schooled, dealt with family bereavements (not covid) where we have dealt with funeral restrictions any many more hurdles and now the gym is closed again. I am literally going crazy and so are my family, this is not healthy.”

“They have excellent sanitation stations, and I have noticed that all the members are adhering to the instructions for there use for the safety of themselves and others.”

“I am 80 years of age, and feel that such facilities need to keep open, to facilitate our Health and Wellbeing.”

“Keeping fit and healthy play a part in keeping us safe from this dreadful virus.”

“I live with a heart condition & as a result it is very important for me to keep fit in order to stay healthy, although I can do this at home, or by running outdoors, having a gym where I can train in the winter is vital!! As is being able to train with my friends.”


There are so many more stories I can tell about the impact on Physical and Mental Health – all important, all needing the therapeutic support of exercise, activity and interaction. I trust that a new public health approach can facilitate a fresh approach to keeping sports and exercise facilities open.

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search