Two Reading gyms close following lockdown struggles: town responds

LOCAL gym-goers have been left ‘really sad’ by the permanent closure of two major Reading gyms.

Gyms are not reopening under government guidelines this week, although pubs, restaurants, hair salons, hotels and other businesses will be opening again on July 4, with new restrictions in place as lockdown is eased.

Simply Gym, in The Meadway, Honey End Lane and Caversham Health and Fitness, based on Archway Road, both announced that they would not be able to reopen.

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The Meadway said it had struggled during lockdown, and with “no given reopening date, it is no longer viable for the business to operate or re-open.”

Responding to Simply Gym’s Facebook announcement, Ramya Giri commented: “Oh no that’s terrible!!

“I am a regular at simply for the last 5 years! It’s been a big part of my life. I am really sad to see you guys closing”, while Gemma Fox said: “So sorry to read this. I loved the classes and all the instructors I’ve seen. I wish you all the best.”

Peter Dempsey said: “This is really sad to hear. I finally found a gym near home and always liked going there as could always get on equipment!

“Hopefully one day you’ll return.”

Caversham Health and Fitness said it was “broken hearted” to have to announce the closure.

Plans were submitted by the Hermes Property Unit Trust late last year to replace the gym with a cinema but the developers also planned to replace the gym at another unit on the same road.

But Caversham Health and Fitness said it will shut for good due to coronavirus – with no confirmed date yet for gyms to re-open – and lack of communication from Hermes regarding the proposed new site.

Responding, Rhian Toates said: “This is extremely sad news.

“My Friday Pump was my most favourite class to teach and I’ll will cherish the memories of everyone I met at the club. Lots of love to everyone”, and Marion Hodgson commented: “So sorry to hear this news. CHF taught me to like the gym and I enjoyed the CHF movement and meeting new friends.”

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Echoing these views, Margarita Lens said: “So sorry to hear this. CHF was more than a gym, it was a community.”

Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson recently wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to personally intervene to get gyms and fitness centres open sooner.

In her role as chair of ukactive, which represents gym and fitness chains, she wrote that the government should provide formal reasons for the sector not getting the green light to reopen on July 4, alongside pubs, restaurants and museums.

The sector has been told it could provisionally reopen in mid-July in England, but there have been no formal dates set and Lady Grey-Thompson asks for an explanation on how the “relative risk of a busy pub at one-metre social distancing is lower than a controlled gym or leisure centre environment”.

Reading Chronicle