Ireland Active has drafted a framework for the safe operation of leisure centres, gyms, sporting and fitness facilities/activities in response to the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business. 

The framework provides the basis for operators to develop their own required technical operating guidance for customers, staff and supply chains in tandem with the Government national return to work protocol.  

Feedback and contributions have been received from our members and international bodies and experts, as well as our partners in Swim Ireland, in developing this document. 

We have sought clarification from government around the phasing as it relates to our industry both on the timing of each phase and what activities can occur at each phase, and the operational implications for both outdoor and indoor activity.  

Once we have received an understanding from government on the detail of the roadmap and the phasing, we will respond with a view as to how the industry can work to meet/develop the roadmap as it relates to our members varied activities.  

While we welcome government supports in place such as the wage subsidy scheme, restart grants and rates freezes, further financial support from the Government is vital as part of its reopening plans for the economy, so that businesses can remain financially viable in the long-term. Measures should include the reduction in the sports facilities VAT rate to 0%, utility grants for closure period and zero interest rate loans without repayments for 12 months. 

The leisure, health and fitness sector are willing to meet the challenges of the times ahead, however it will need government support to achieve our common objectives of retained employment and a more active and healthy society. 

Ireland Active CEO, Conn McCluskey said: ‘We are publishing this framework document for members to provide a starting point for discussion and to share information on how the industry can be managed safely once re-opened. We have also submitted the framework to government and have been working with them to gain clarity on phasing and the activities allowed at each stage. Once we gain a better understanding of how each phase applies we can then provide detail to our members on how to approach the development of the road map for our sector. We believe that physical activity is going to play a key role in how society emerges and deals with COVID-19 into the future and our members will play a key role in that recovery. We welcome government support initiatives to date however we believe that further supports will be needed to ensure that our sector can play its full part in the recovery and that we have a leisure, sport and fitness infrastructure in the future.’

It is important to note when reviewing the framework document, that updated versions will be issued over the coming weeks and changes to business operations are to be expected once open and on an ongoing basis. Government guidelines/protocols should always be followed. 

NEW Framework Version two is available now- See news article dated 17.06.20

Additional Resources: 

Please email info@irelandactive.ie with any feedback on this framework so that we can work with our members and government on addressing the industry’s requirements.