London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena among venues reopening after lockdown
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 July 2020
The London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena have welcomed back the public after almost four months of lockdown.
The centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, saw one million annual visitors with more than 4,000 children learning to swim and upwards of 600 on the dive programme.
But efforts to contain the coronavirus saw sports facilities close across the country, including the 560 acre park’s iconic venues.
That was until Saturday, July 25 when the sports hubs threw open their doors, albeit with a number of changes to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Measures introduced include gym equipment being reduced to ensure two metre social distancing between users.
Some fitness classes will be relocated to sports halls or, weather permitting, outside.
GLL, the country’s largest operator of municipal leisure facilities, is reopening its 270 facilities in England, including the flagship former Olympic venue.
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The 50 metre pool will have double width lanes, backstroke will be prohibited and swimmers will be asked to arrive “beach ready” if possible, to reduce touch points in changing rooms.
The dive pool will form a separate family swim area.
Mark Camley, executive director of park operations and venues, said: “We’re thrilled these iconic venues are starting to reopen so the public can once again enjoy these spaces from going for a swim, using the gym or taking part in a fitness class in a safe and socially distanced manner.”
He added that as more people stay at home this summer the park’s managers want visitors to enjoy all the park has to offer from its free parklands, playgrounds and trails.
There is a beefed up cleaning regime with customers asked to wipe down equipment they’ve used. Hand sanitiser is also available.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Helping people return to gyms safely will also help the nation get match-fit to defeat the virus.”
Park visitors can also take to the water on swan pedalos or unwind on a guided boat tour along the River Lea that runs through the park.
Pedalos operate daily from noon to 5pm. Boat tours run daily at noon, 2pm and 4pm.
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