Business update - June 2020

A message from the Places Leisure team


We are sure you will be encouraged that right across our communities the cases of coronavirus are reducing and the restrictions upon our lives are beginning to be lifted. Whilst many of you have found alternative ways to exercise including using the workouts within our Virtual Studio on the Places Locker app, we know that many more have been missing the activities available at your local leisure facility. We wanted to share with you some of the things we’ve been doing in planning for re-opening so that we can welcome you back to a safe and reassuring environment as soon as we are allowed by the Government, their medical advisors and our local authority partners.

We have been working with our physical activity sector colleagues to develop a framework of guidelines that has to be approved by Government and Public Health England. This means that when you return you can be sure that our systems of operation have been specifically designed to maintain standards of hygiene and safety.

Customer survey

We were proud and grateful that so many of you provided us some invaluable feedback to our recent survey. We were able to gauge how you were feeling, the things that mattered to you and what you expected when you returned. Over 30,000 customers responded and that has enabled us to inform and shape the service we provide you when you return. We’ll share the results in more detail but:

  • 82% said they can’t wait to get back to the centre
  • 62% said their activity levels had decreased during lockdown
  • 94% said that suspending the membership fee immediately was the right thing to do

You let us know some really important stuff about how you’d feel when the time was ready for us to re-open:

  • Over 85% of our gym goers asked us to space out equipment
  • Over 95% of our exercise class customers want us to clean down kit before and after class

What to expect

To ensure everyone can exercise with sufficient space to ensure appropriate social distancing we’ll be limiting the capacity of activity areas and scheduling time-slots. We will ask you to:

  • Pre-book and pre-pay your gym, exercise class or swim via the Places Locker app - if you haven't registered yet, click here
  • Come ‘workout-ready’
  • Check-in close to your allocated session time
  • Leave promptly at the end of your session

You will find:

  • Gym equipment spaced out, some equipment unavailable and capacity restricted in some workout ‘zones’
  • Some centres will use alternative locations as gym or workout space including outdoors
  • Class capacity restricted

Hygiene is a priority for us and so:

  • You can be assured of heightened cleaning regimes particularly of ‘high-touch’ areas
  • Protective screens will be in place at Reception and some of our staff may choose to wear a face mask
  • Hand sanitiser will be readily available for your use
  • We will ask you to clean down gym and exercise equipment, including mats before and after use using the wipes, ‘blue-roll’ and sanitiser we provide
  • Please maintain social distancing protocols and respect the safety and confidence of other customers and team members; we always appreciate this
  • At the end of each gym or class session our staff will clean the activity area and its equipment before the start of the next session
  • Showers will not be available in order to maintain social distancing protocols

Ensuring your safety so that you can return with confidence is our primary consideration and so we will be phasing the introduction of activities. This will ensure that we can test our protocols in a controlled way. In so doing we will learn how both our staff and our customers adapt to our new operational systems and we can adjust and improve them in a measured fashion. So you can expect that Gym and Exercise classes will be the first activities available.

This remains dependent upon Government guidance and approval from our local authority partners and we will continually update our plans as they develop and publish them on our website.

Membership payments

We know from our survey that some of you are keen return as soon as we re-open and others require a little more reassurance. Whatever your circumstances and whatever type of membership you have we want you to enjoy the full benefits whenever you’re ready and so remember:

  • All memberships are currently suspended free of charge
  • Your membership will only re-start when your facility re-opens
  • We will give you 10 days’ notice of your membership re-starting
  • If you do not wish to restart immediately you can continue to ‘freeze’ your membership for free until you’re ready to return (for up to a maximum of 6 months)
  • We will write to you again, closer to re-opening, explaining your options in more detail

Thank you

We really appreciate your patience and understanding. This continues to be an extraordinary time and whilst we remain unable to give you definite re-opening times, we hope that you have found this information helpful.

Please continue to stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you back with a huge smile very soon.

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