The past year has been a difficult one for the sports industry, with all gyms, sports clubs and swimming pools being closed for the majority, if not all, of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, things are starting to look up – outdoor group exercise is now allowed in Scotland, and gyms and pools will reopen for individual exercise on April 26.
The Scottish Conservatives, however, have criticised the government’s plan for easing out of lockdown, saying it is time for gyms and other businesses to reopen their doors.
Douglas Ross, Conservative party leader, said: “We need to remain cautious but we also have to recognise the brutal impact that restrictions are having on mental health, physical health and family finances.
“We have to lift restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so, while remaining cautious and playing our part to suppress the virus.
“Nicola Sturgeon accepted our case for a faster lifting of restrictions.
“We now need to see action to get gyms and our hospitality businesses safely opened earlier.”
‘Seismic and sector-threatening impact’
Joining us to talk about the impact lockdown has had on the sports industry on Thursday April 15 was DC Thomson’s head of sport, Sean Hamilton, and Roy O’Kane from Kanzen Karate in Dundee.
Mr Hamilton said: “The day-to-day impact has been enormous, from children’s coaching sessions right through to the closure of gyms for adults looking to stay fit.
“It has had a truly seismic and sector-threatening effect.”
Fitness is ‘important’ in fighting Covid-19
Roy O’Kane from Kanzen Karate spoke about how difficult he has found the past year.
He said: “It has been immensely challenging. Back in March no one knew what it would mean, but everyone was affected.
“One day we were open and the next closed.
“We moved everything online and we strongly felt that we would do our utmost to provide classes online and keep people engaged.
“We all know physical activity of any sense is really important in keeping people well.
“Someone who doesn’t take part in exercise is two and a half times more (likely to die from Covid-19) than someone who does two and a half hours of exercise a week.
“We know fitness and wellbeing is important in how we fight this thing.
“We know in indoor gyms cases of Covid are far lower than in other places that are open just now.
“Indoor contact sport isn’t taking place again until June at the earliest but I will be able to go for a pint on May 17.”
He added: “What I would really like to see from the powers that be is to seriously recognise this is part of our response from Covid.
“Let’s open up, because in a safe environment there are no issues with Covid.”