Rugeley and Chase leisure centres had to close in March due to the lockdown measures announced by the government to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier in the month, while they were still able to open, measures had been introduced to keep staff and customers safe including more regular cleaning and keeping gym users at least two machines away from one another. The number of people able to attend classes was also reduced, while sessions for older customers were postponed.
Now the Rugeley and Cannock centres are looking ahead to how to reopen safely – and customers can expect to see a number of changes at both sites. There will be one-way systems to help maintain social distancing, enhanced cleaning regimes, cashless payments and contactless door and turnstile entries to gyms, using keys and wristbands.
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But issues remain with the reopening of Rugeley Leisure Centre’s swimming pool, as problems with tiling and a potential water leak were identified during lockdown.
Inspiring healthy lifestyles (Ihl), which manages the district’s leisure facilities on behalf of Cannock Chase Council, has commissioned two professional surveys to identify the issues.
Councillor Christine Mitchell, portfolio leader for culture and sport, said: “The issues which have arisen with the swimming pool are a massive blow to Inspiring healthy lifestyles.
“Initial indications are that repair works are going to be costly and time consuming, which is likely to mean that the swimming pool will not be open when government restrictions on swimming are lifted. I would like to reassure residents and customers that Ihl are doing everything in their power to identify the problem and a solution as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for Inspiring healthy lifestyles said: “Unfortunately, the pool at Rugeley Leisure Centre is in need of urgent repairs and we’re working hard to rectify the problems as quickly as possible.
“Should the pool repairs not be ready when government guidance advises us that we can reopen, users of Rugeley Pool will be able to use Chase Leisure Centre as part of their membership.”
Rugeley’s swimming pool was opened in 2008 following a 30-year campaign for the facilities and a £4.25m revamp of the Burnthill Lane leisure centre.
But the pool had to close just hours after its official opening because of damaged grating and health and safety fears. Families were ordered out of the pool after two youngsters suffered minor injuries on a section of channel grating next to the pool. The facility was re-opened an hour later for supervised adult swim sessions.
Members of the Armed Forces will be able to continue enjoying free membership of Rugeley and Chase leisure centres when they are able to reopen.