THE town's biggest leisure centre is ready to open its doors to the public – just as soon as the government gives the green light.

Sports centres, gyms and swimming pools were missing from Boris Johnson's 'Super Saturday' list as pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to trade again after lockdown.

Bosses at the Link Centre – home to the only ice rink for miles around – have been making plans behind closed doors and the Adver was invited to take a look at the measures they say will make it Covid-safe.

They include a ban on lockers, a gym extension and a halving of the capacity in the 25m pool.

Taking us on our tour was Josh Roper, the partnership manager for Better, which manages the Link as well as other leisure facilities in the town such as the Oasis and the Health Hydro.

At the main entrance, Josh explained each person who arrives will be greeted by a member of staff and will be told what is happening.

He said: “We will have a concierge-type desk at the front, no one will have a static work area.

“There are two lines, one for swimming and one for the gym and classes and we’ll mark two-metre lines outside the entrance.

“Even though the government have eased restrictions, we’re still going with the two-metre restriction as a company.

“We’ll have scan-and-enter barcodes either side, which has been partitioned off.”

Josh added the company has decided against putting markers outside the building for the time being, in order to stop people coming to the doors to see whether it has reopened.

The cafe at the Link will not be reopening any time soon, with the area now being used as a makeshift gym extension.

Josh explained: “Some kit has been brought out into the mall area because we won’t be reopening our café straight away.

“They’ve all been positioned in two-metre squared boxes.

“We’re not going to go mad with hazard tape or anything like that. They’re two metres apart and they’ll be measured every morning and evening to make sure they’ve not moved during the day.

“Classes have been boxed out into three-metres squared. You’ll essentially get a three-metre patch to yourself. It has reduced capacity but that’s going to be the same for everybody.”

And there will be a number of changes made to the way people experience the gym. One of which being no lockers will be in use and a new one-way system.

“No lockers will be available,” Josh added: “There’s so many touchpoints on there that it would be a nightmare to keep it going.

“But we’ve had electronic sanitiser units put in throughout the site and other centres in Swindon to get ready for reopening.

“Our protocols will be emailed to our customers after they book.

“The site will be a complete one-way system. We have no cross-paths, no cutbacks, which we’re quite luckily in that sense that it’s one way the Link Centre is good.

“For smaller facilities we run we wouldn’t be able to operate a complete one-way system.”

For use of the gym, each user will have a piece of equipment each and will have to stay in their boxed area.

Josh said: “Everything is spread out for the two-metre boxes.

“No one can move out of them, that will be your area. We’ll brief people on that when they come through with their concierge.

“It’s one person per bit of kit, essentially.

“No changing rooms are going to be open in the first phase. Toilet access will be but it’ll only be one toilet.”

When it comes to the swimming pool, a similar one-way system will be in place and customers will be asked to come ‘beach ready’.

Josh explained: “The pool is ready to be used but we’ve made three double lanes, so we can only have ten people per lane.

"Normally we would have six lanes with 10 people but we’ve had to halve the capacity.

“It’ll be a one-way system at poolside and we want people to come beach ready so they’re not in the changing room for too long.”