Letter to Local MP regarding gym closures during lockdown.

By
CrossFit Chiltern
Letter to Local MP regarding gym closures during lockdown.

As you know the plans are for gyms to be closed during lockdown. I personally feel very strongly that this is the wrong decision. In my opinion the benefits to our physical and mental health when weighed against the data for risk of transmission of COVID19 in a gym environment do not equate to closure becoming the best option. Therefore I have written to our local MP Dame Cheryl Gillam. I'm encouraging other UK CrossFit affiliates to do the same and other local gyms also. If you share a similar belief then please feel free to use my email as a template to register your same feelings. I understand that others may have differing opinions and I respect those who feel this is the right decision by the government. But I cannot sit on my hands on this occasion. The minimum I can do is act to try and have a voice. If you want to add to that voice then the contact address is below, with my email following. 

Good luck to all of you throughout this difficult time. Time to work together!

Jeremy

Owner CrossFit Chiltern.

When contacting this Member, they should be addressed as Dame Cheryl .


Parliamentary
Contact the Member at their Westminster address.
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
Phone: 020 7219 4061
Email: cheryl.gillan.mp@parliament.uk


Constituency
Contact the Member at their constituency address.
7A Hill Avenue
Amersham
HP6 5BD
Phone: 01494 721577
Email: shawmj@parliament.uk


Dame Cheryl,

 As a local fitness provider I am surprised and disappointed at the government's latest announcement that throughout the latest national lockdown gyms and leisure facilities should be closed.   

We provide fitness classes and facilities for hundreds of local people. Including several aged over 65s and in excess of 70 local children. This has helped to maintain and improve not only the physical but also the mental health of many of your constituents. 

From a very personal point of view I have seen the effect the lockdown has had on members of my own family. My father of 72 years who has always been very active and sociable suddenly over this period became depressed and spent large amounts of time not wanting to go out and actually sleeping for several hours during the day. He has suffered with type 2 diabetes over the last 3 years and has managed to control the condition quite well before the lockdown. However during the lockdown period his symptoms got worse, his blood pressure went up and he had to increase his intake of medication which has several negative side effects. This has resulted in several trips to the GP for tests, new drugs etc. Since the lockdown has been lifted we started training him in my facility. He has since regained much of his physical and mental vigour, lost in excess of 12 kg and got control over his blood sugar. This has come through a renewed energy from a new love of training and a knowledge of effective nutrition. This is just one case of many in which mental and physical health has improved through exercise. 

I could list hundreds more where people have seen radical transformations in their physical and mental health.

The justification of the lockdown was to reduce the strain on healthcare. Education has been called to remain open in the interest of physical and mental health of young people. Surely exercise even more neatly fits this same remit. 

I kindly ask that you as my representative in parliament call for an amendment to the lockdown to allow facilities that provide benefits to both physical and mental health remain open. It was only recently that the regulations were changed to allow gyms to remain open during a Tier 3 lockdown, I see no reason for this to need to be changed. 

I have included below a statement from UK active which presents a great deal of data regarding infections rates amongst gym goers to present the low level of risk that facilities such as myself exhibit. I have also attached our current COVID19 protocols. We have not seen any cases amongst members and staff members throughout our time re-opened. 

This is a matter of not just the financial health of a local business, but more of the health of our nation. We just ask that the Prime minister looks carefully at the data before asking for a blanket lockdown. 

Many thanks for taking the time to read this email. I await your response. 

Jeremy Reilly

Owner

CrossFit Chiltern 

Amersham

07979497465


Statement from UK Active

ukactive has today (31 October) issued the following statement on the situation regarding the new lockdown  

"We recognise the challenging decisions the Prime Minister has to make in this singular national, public health crisis but we are deeply concerned that gyms and leisure facilities are closing again in England in the newly announced lockdown.

We urge the Prime Minister to ensure comprehensive financial support for the health and fitness sector is available to help it survive this period, minimising the now grave threat to further business failure and significant job losses.

Our sector is essential to the battle with COVID-19 directly supporting the nation’s health, wellbeing and resilience. Local community health services including gyms and leisure centres should be accessible, even with tightened restrictions. Loss of access to these facilities will damage activity levels significantly, as proven by the recent Sport England analysis that showed a significant drop in activity levels in the first lockdown.

Furthermore, during winter months outdoor activity will be significantly less appealing and we should now expect activity levels to decline further. We should also highlight the SAGE analysis that documented the loss in access to facilities will have a detrimental impact on mental wellbeing and potentially increase health inequalities with some BAME and vulnerable groups. The reality is that millions will be impacted by a deterioration in both their physical and mental health, with implications to longer term public health challenges. This should be of deep concern to the Prime Minister and all political parties

This announcement is also deeply disappointing due to the track record of safety and hygiene that the sector has sustained in response to the challenge of COVID.  From over 1,900 facilities and five million visits in the week of 5-11 October, just 156 customers reported attending a facility before being confirmed positive with COVID-19. This indicates an incidence rate of 2.88 cases per 100,000 visits whereas the UK case rate in the general population, as reported by the Government for 5- 11 October was 150.83 cases per 100,000 people. Furthermore, the data collated for the UK across the whole period since reopening – measured from 25 July to 11 October – shows the sites have seen more than 45 million visits, with an overall rate of 0.99 cases per 100,000 visits.

At ukactive, we will work with the Prime Minister and his teams to ensure gyms and leisure centres re-open again at the earliest opportunity, and ensure they can support fully the country’s recovery, alleviating pressure on the NHS and the multiple public health challenges the country faces."

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