Leisure centres and gyms owned by Barnet Council will begin a phased reopening this weekend following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

Better Leisure has announced plans to reopen the five centres it operates on the council’s behalf: Burnt Oak, Hendon, Copthall, New Barnet and Finchley Lido leisure centres

Gyms, studios and pools will reopen at Burnt Oak, Hendon, Copthall and New Barnet leisure centres from July 25. Facilities at Finchley Lido Leisure Centre will open at a later date.

Leisure centres across the UK have been closed since March 20 to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Earlier this month, the Government gave the go-ahead for them to reopen from July 25.

The centres will have extra safety measures in place, including one-way access and social distancing. Anyone who wants to use the facilities will need to pre-book a one-hour time slot via the Better app or website.

Gym areas will have less equipment to allow two metres social distancing between users, while some fitness classes will be relocated to sports halls or the open air.

Swimmers have been asked to arrive ‘beach ready’ with their costume on under their clothes to save time and reduce pressure on changing areas. Gym and studio customers will be encouraged to bring their own drinking water and shower and change at home.

An enhanced cleaning regime will be in place, while customers will be asked to wipe down equipment after use. Hand sanitiser will be available throughout leisure centre buildings.

All Better members will be given access to all Better facilities within the UK for the foreseeable future, and people who do not feel confident to return to the centres, or who have health conditions putting them at risk of Covid-19, will be allowed to keep their memberships frozen.

Gillan Kelly, partnership manager at Better said: “After nearly four months of lockdown, we are delighted to finally have the green light for reopening our leisure facilities in a phased fashion.

“Keeping people safe is now a shared responsibility and our top priority. As a leisure operator we will be working in partnership with customers to ensure their visit is safe. This means things will look a little different, there will be no walk-ups and all visits must be pre-booked.”

“We recognise that some people may be worried about returning to their local leisure facilities, so we will continue to offer free access to online fitness and exercises classes via our Better app. We look forward to seeing you soon.”

Cllr Sachin Rajput, chairman of the adults and safeguarding committee and lead member for sport and physical activity, said: “Keeping our residents fit and healthy has never been more important. We are pleased to be able to reopen our leisure centres during these unprecedented times.

“We have been working with our partners at Better Barnet to ensure that all our facilities are Covid secure. We now look forward to welcoming residents safely back to them, so that they can get back to enjoying everything that our brilliant leisure centres have to offer.”