We are all aware of the devastating impact which Coronavirus has had upon us as a nation and how challenging it has become to adhere to Government instated laws and guidelines, whether that be as trivial as remembering a mask when going to the shops or suffering a tenuous wait in a line in the cold to enter a shop. Now take time to consider the issues of implementing these guidelines when your business and facility requires dealing with vast numbers of people in confined spaces.


 Wimbledon Leisure Centre consists of a large gym with tightly packed equipment, multiple sauna rooms with spa facilities, group activitiy rooms for Yoga and Pilates , spinning bikes often used for classes run by trained instructors, and two swimming pools, as well as changing rooms allocated to each. Wimbledon Leisure Centre is also regarded as providing useful community service in normal circumstances, as schools such as Willington Preparatory School among others frequently make use of the pool in order to provide pupils with what has become an almost crucial part of education, swimming lessons and even lifeguard training for the more aquatically advanced members of the student learner body. Gerard McCarthy, one of the leading swim instructors at Wimbledon Leisure Centre, claims that he believed that swimming was a ‘highlight of the week’ for almost all pupils involved in the swimming programs at the leisure centre. In addition, the positive impacts exercising and remaining fit can have upon the mental health of individuals, should not be underestimated, particularly in these trying times where many are experiencing conditions far exaggerated by the strain of being in lockdown.


However, there is no denying that restrictions imposed by the Government have made the running of the leisure centre harder than ever before and due to the decision taken by the Government to reinstate the national lockdown the leisure closed its doors on November 5th 2020 and will open recopen on the 2nd of December. Conversely, whilst being shut now due to no fault of their own the leisure centre had brought in stringent yet effective rules and practices which enabled it to remain open for as long as possible. These include the introduction of a booking system and a set capacity of people being allowed entry at specific times in order to reduce the amount of people coming in contact with each other. There was also a reduced usage of the showers and changing facilities, and people were encouraged to arrive as ready for their selected activity as possible. Furthermore one way systems were put in place as well as sanitisation stations to keep hygiene levels as high as possible. Gym equipment is also sanitized before and after use and the individual lanes in the swimming pool have been doubled in width as well as a chlorine disinfectant, proven to kill pathogens similar to COVID-19 itself, being incorporated into the water management systems.


In conclusion we can view the case of Wimbledon Leisure Centre as highlighting the issues which the pandemic has caused local business and facilities to face, whilst still illustrating how important they are to the local community and if managed correctly, such as in this case, can remain open whilst being as covid-secure as possible