NEWS that gyms will be able to reopen a week earlier than planned has been welcomed by owners, but some say the delay to compared to the reopening over the border will result in them losing members.

Mark Drakeford last week set out a timetable for moving Wales into alert level three - but some of these measures will now be introduced sooner than planned.

From Monday, May 3 - a week earlier than previously signalled - gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be able to reopen for individual or one-to-one training.

Ian Carter of Celtic Crossfit, who is part of a coalition of gym owners working together across Wales to petition for gyms not only to be allowed to open sooner, but also to be classified as essential services, said: "Obviously see any movement in the dates as a very small positive.

South Wales Argus: Ian Carter of Celtic Crossfit

Ian Carter of Celtic Crossfit

"This being said, the date is still three weeks after a reopening has been scheduled in England and, with many of us based just a few miles from the border, we still stand to lose a substantial volume of members, who will no doubt flood to English facilities as soon as restrictions are lifted there."


He added: "The Welsh public are having the opportunity to safeguard their own mental and physical health and well being taken away from them.

"While it may seem to some that this is a small step in the right direction, it’s far from acceptable to us, especially when you consider the increase risk this lack of parity with England will bring, with people travelling back and fore across the border."

Mo Nasir, who runs Mo's Boxing and Fitness in Newport, echoed the sentiment that people's mental health was an important factor.

South Wales Argus: Mo Nasir of Mo's Boxing and Fitness

Mo Nasir of Mo's Boxing and Fitness

"I deal with a lot of my clients who need training keeping them focused and active," he said.

"At the end the day, we all have to respect the rules and follow them.

"I look forward seeing gyms back to normal."

Alastair Eustace, of SP Gyms, said that he was "flummoxed" as to why gyms had been required to stay shut for longer than other businesses.

"It's been very frustrating for us," he said.

"With the data showing how obesity drastically increases the severity of COVID, and also showing that gyms are safe. "We are all a bit flummoxed as to why we have been forced to stay closed for so long.

"Our members are desperate to get back to the gym, and so anything that enables them to do this sooner rather than later is certainly welcome.

"So the date being brought forward, albeit only a week, is still positive news."