FITNESS fans are rejoicing after the government gave the go-ahead for gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools to reopen later this month.

Reduced exercise class sizes, spaced-out equipment and more regular cleaning are among the safety measures that will be put in place from Saturday, July 25, to keep visitors safe and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Staff at the Link Centre have spent the last few weeks making sure everything is spotless, reorganised and ready for returning customers.

General manager Elliot Pether said: “We are extremely happy and relieved that we finally have an official date to work towards.

“We had all hoped that the July 4 announcement would include leisure and were quite deflated when it wasn’t, so we’ve had that ready-to-go mindset for a while now.

“At first I thought it might take time for people to get used to the changes, but when I saw what happened when other industries reopened, like the pubs and restaurants, it was almost business as usual because it didn’t take long for everyone to adjust.

“People are used to it and are happy to have something to do. Regular users will be champing at the bit to get back, not just for the exercise but the social aspect too, and they tend to be quite hygienic and look after their area.

“Less frequent visitors might have reservations and can have their membership kept frozen if they don’t feel comfortable returning yet.”

The big announcement came during the latest government press conference as part of a series of reopenings revealed by culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

Recreational sports teams can resume play from this weekend once their respective organisations publish approved guidance.

Stratton Juniors Football Club chairman Magnus Painter said: “From our point of view, providing it’s safe and the government feel it’s safe, this is all positive news for the club, it’s great that we’re getting back.

“We are following FA guidance so we have been slowly resuming training with some teams while others are due to start within the next two or three weeks.

“It wouldn’t have been good to restart all of them at once because then you’d have had hundreds of children and parents all here at once.

“As a club, we have been very strict and cautious and wanted to hold off until we had everything in place in terms of risk assessments and precautions to make sure everyone is safe.We will wait for any new information from the FA before making any other decisions.”

Musicians, dancers and performers can play to a crowd again from this weekend as plays, concerts, operas and dances will be allowed outdoors in front of socially-distanced audiences. Tattooists, beauty parlours and nail bars will reopen from Monday.