High Life Highland today announced plans to open Inverness Leisure to pre-booked customers at midnight on Sunday, as the Charity moves into Monday 31st August marking the official start date set by the Scottish Government that allows the public to return to leisure centres and swimming pools from that point onwards.
The plans include opening fitness classes, gym access and lane swimming sessions, all of which will obviously be socially distanced.
Along with all other HLH locations, Inverness Leisure closed on 20th March because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the flagship leisure centre operating as a hub for food distribution across the Highlands during lockdown for the vast majority of the lock until the community role transferred to Eden Court Theatre recently.
Douglas Wilby Director of Sport and Leisure for High Life Highland said,” Our customers and staff have waited a very long time to be able to enjoy using our fitness suites, swimming pool and fitness classes again.
“Opening as soon as we can just after midnight is another significant step in our bounceback campaign and will offer customers the earliest opportunity to start enjoying Inverness Leisure again, while being in full compliance with the Scottish Government’s guidance.
Customers will be allowed to enter the building again at midnight and there will be a number of ‘through-the-night’ sessions available from just after midnight, continuing to run at regular intervals throughout the rest of the day.
Mr Wilby continued, “Our online booking system went live earlier this week (Wednesday 26th) and the response has been extremely positive. As expected, demand has been high throughout the week as people look to get back to some sense of normality and start their exercise routine again.”
High Life Highland is leading the way in Scotland as it believed to be the first leisure Trust to open its doors on the First Minister’s revised date of 31st August and ending “lockdown restrictions” locally. It is understood that many leisure operators are maintaining a mid-September opening as had originally been suggested in previous First Minister’s statements.
High Life Highland Chief Executive Steve Walsh said, “I am absolutely blown away that we have been able to accelerate our plans for reopening in line with the earlier opening date announced by the First Minister last week.
“Our leisure team’s decision to prepare early has paid off on this occasion and allowed us to implement Phase1 of our reopening plans and provide, what we think will be great news for customers in these unusual times.
Speaking about customer access to joint school and community facilities, Mr Walsh concluded, “The Board and I have fully supported that priorities for colleagues in The Highland Council have been around the safe access for pupils as they return to fulltime education.
“However, I am pleased that following positive discussions we have agreed a phased access plan to allow our staff back into school buildings to prepare the sites enabling us to bring our highlife members and customers back to those joint school and community facilities.
“The team and I are very much looking forward to seeing our users return to our locations across the Highlands over the next few weeks.”