Since March 2020, EMD UK have worked hard with CIMSPA, Sport England, and the Government’s department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to re-open group exercise and ensure communities have opportunities to attend classes. The EMD UK Return to Play guidance in our Group Ex Support Pack has provided guidance and practical resources, including COVID-19 risk assessments, to over 8,500 group exercise instructors across the UK.

We have provided guidance and support on what instructors need to do to run classes safely across all tiers and home nations. We have provided the Government and councils with guidance on how and why group exercise classes are safe to run when COVID-19 compliance is met. We want to keep the sector open for the physical, mental, and social health of the nation. However, we cannot do this alone.

We are calling on all instructors to follow the rules. We understand that local Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers are making spot checks to ensure classes are COVID-19 compliant. You must follow the rules. Instructors not following the rules risk shutting the sector down for everyone.

Local authorities are particularly concerned about participants clustering before and after classes. Please ensure:

  • Participants are not clustering before or after your class and are maintaining at least 2m social distancing as they arrive and depart from your class.
  • Participants and instructors wear masks / appropriate face coverings when arriving and leaving their classes. This is already in the Government guidance for community venues and is a policy of many leisure centres and gyms. Masks can be removed when participants are in their individual marked out studio area.

Failure to adhere to the above could jeopardise the future of group exercise classes continuing through the pandemic.

As covered in our Return to Play guidance, agreed with DCMS, group exercise instructors must:

  • Have a COVID-19 risk assessment in place in addition to all other venue risk assessments. You must have this to hand should a spot check inspection take place.
  • Have a QR code in line with NHS Test and Trace measures. Where participants cannot scan your code, you must collect their data and hold for 21 days.
  • Participants must each have 3m by 3m space in which to do their classes. 2m by 2m is permissible for non-movement classes.
  • Not provide shared equipment.
  • Have at least 10-minutes between classes to clean the space.

Marcus Kingwell, CEO of EMD UK, says “We are now approaching a critical stage in group exercise provision. We all need to work together to prove the sector is safe to run for the good of the nation. Instructors failing to make all necessary changes and implement COVID-19 safety measures will be threatening class provision for everyone. If we cannot pull together and prove group exercise is a safe activity, regardless of tier or nation, future restrictions will be out of our hands.”

Tara Dillon, CEO of CIMSPA, said “This is a challenging time for everyone working in our sector and the vast majority are doing a great job of adapting to the COVID-19 guidance to keep everyone safe.

It’s critical for everyone to work within the guidance provided by CIMSPA and EMD UK – firstly to ensure the safety of everyone taking part, but also to ensure that we can continue to operate without further restrictions being imposed.”

For information and resources on making classes COVID-19 compliant, please download the EMD UK Group Ex Support Pack here.