Overview of Clubs open/closed in Europe (courtesy of Ray Algar, Oxygen Consulting)
Restaurants, bars, and fitness clubs were closed again on November 3, 2020. Retail is currently open with restrictions on the number of customers allowed inside. There is also an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. It is very challenging for clubs to devise definitive protocols or financial/business planning as government requirements are continually being revised.
As of mid-January, the Austrian government has extended the lockdown into at least early February, Reuters reported. This has been further extended until after April 5 with a review in March 2021.
Clubs are closed again from October 29, 2020, with no indicative date given for reopening. No indoor or outdoor group fitness activities, including personal training, are permitted. Protocols and guidelines can be accessed on IHRSA National Federation Fitness BE on fitness.be. (Source: Eric Vandenabeele, Executive Director, FitnessBE). Clubs are due to reopen on June 1, 2021.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Quarantine measures relaxed on April 24, allowing senior citizens and children to leave home every second day for several hours. But on April 29 it was decided to reinstate the night curfew during the three-day Labour Day holidays and ban gatherings of more than five people. Still no news on reopening as of February 22, 2021.
Health clubs/gyms were closed again from November 27 until January 31. As of February 1, 2021, shopping malls, cinemas, gyms, and dance schools in Bulgaria are allowed to reopen as part of the Health Ministry easing measures against the spread of COVID-19, but with restrictions in place.
Starting, May 11, 2020, up to ten people will be allowed to gather in the same place as long as there is social distancing. Health clubs closed on November 28, 2020 and reopened on February 15, 2021 with safety restrictions in place.
The health ministry and the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) have come together to draft a plan aiming to gradually lift restrictions applied to sports in Cyprus.
“...In the first phase of the plan, individual training involving a maximum number of five persons, including their trainer or coach (4+1), will be permitted in outdoor training facilities, including open-air swimming pools.
“In terms of gyms and other indoor training centers, they will be allowed to operate with a maximum number of five persons, including a trainer or coach (4+1), signifying that their reopening during phase one is aimed at professional and national team athletes, not the general public.
“Furthermore, 50 percent of all participating individuals will need to be subjected to mandatory Covid-19 tests every week.
“The mandatory testing requirement does not include children under the age of 12.
“The current requirement of sending an SMS text (number 6) to gain permission to exercise or train will remain in place.”
As of April 26, 2021, Cyprus is in a 2-week strict “lockdown” with clubs and all non-essential services closed and movement restricted. The Cyprus government has announced the introduction of a “Coronapass” for access to venues after this 2-week lockdown ends.
Fitness centers officially reopened on April 27, 2020, in the Czech Republic. They operated with capacity restrictions of one person per 10 square meters, group indoor lessons with a maximum capacity of eight clients plus one instructor, and locker rooms and showers closed. During exercise, wearing a face mask was mandatory, as well as disinfection of fitness machines after the use of every client. The Czech government began lifting restrictions in waves.
From May 11, 2020, the maximum capacity of the fitness center was increased to 100 persons at one time. For more information, see IHRSA National Federation Manual for re-opening in the English version. Wearing a face mask is not mandatory anymore. From December 18, 2020, clubs are closed again until further notice.
Outdoor, self-organized exercise allowed for individuals, pairs, and groups under 10 people. DGI and the Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF) announced on April 20 that non-contact outdoor sports clubs (e.g. golf and tennis) could reopen. Changerooms, gyms, and indoor facilities closed again on December 9, 2020 and are set to reopen on May 6, 2021.
As of January 18, gyms have reopened but only individual exercise is allowed, with further restrictions in some cities. Clubs are set to reopen on May 3, 2021.
Individual outdoor exercises are allowed. The Finnish government announced its "hybrid" reopening strategy on May 4, 2020. It plans to reopen outdoor facilities on May 14, 2020, and allow sports competitions to resume from June 1. A gradual reopening of indoor facilities such as swimming pools, sports facilities, leisure, and youth centers started on June 1. Clubs are still open as of February 22 but with strict protocols in place and some regional closures.
A national lockdown was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron on 28 October 2020 to take effect from October 30 until December 1. All businesses classed as non-essential are to be closed. Fitness clubs are classified as non-essential. Legal action has been initiated by some club companies and recent protests by the French Fitness Association and Club owners in Paris and Marseille following local restrictions. Clubs were expected to reopen on January 20, but as announced on January 16, clubs along with many other businesses are closed indefinitely along with curfews. (Source: Christophe Andanson, Planet Fitness Group (France)/Les Mills, IHRSA Europe Council, and the French Government).
Clubs are now set to reopen on May 15, 2021.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a nationwide lockdown on October 28, 2020, in response to the rising number of cases in Europe. Germany began a four-week shutdown of restaurants, bars, cinemas, and fitness facilities on November 2. The lockdown was scheduled to end on November 30 but has now been extended until further notice
Clubs have to be fully closed, with only outdoor 1-on-1 personal training permitted in public areas and not on private premises. For more resources, visit DSSV, an IHRSA National Federation partner.
As of May 4, 2020, people were allowed to move freely, as long as this is within their own prefecture. Personal exercise will be allowed in open areas and at beaches, except for organized beaches, which will remain shut. Sports events are likely to be canceled.
Since November 3, 2020, clubs have closed again with no reopening date announced.
Hungary began lifting restrictions on May 4, 2020, last year. Sports training for professionals and amateurs is now allowed "behind closed doors" and matches will be allowed to resume without spectators. All parks and open-air baths are open to the public. Curfews and restrictions still apply in Budapest and Pest County. Since November 9, clubs have closed again with no reopening date announced.
Self-organized exercise and organized sport outdoors are allowed for individuals and groups of up 4 people. Public gatherings (including student groups of all ages) raised from 20 to 50 people on 4 May. Gyms, swimming pools, and indoor sports clubs reopened on 25 May and public gatherings of up to 200 people were permitted.
Beginning October 31, 2020, a new set of restrictions went into effect. Sports activities are not allowed and swimming pools are closed. The gathering limit has been decreased to 10.
Clubs have since reopened but with 50% capacity as of April 15, 2021.
Health and fitness clubs, as well as sports and aquatics facilities, were permitted to reopen on December 2, 2020 despite the highest level 5 restrictions being introduced on October 21. Level 5 restrictions have been changed several times in recent weeks and as of December 31, clubs and sports facilities were closed again. Due to government statements on April 30, 2021, gyms, swimming pools, and leisure centers can reopen for individual training only starting June 7, 2021, with no dates indicated for full reopening.
Israel lifted many of its coronavirus restrictions and started reopening its economy on February 21, 2021, as the country’s vaccination drive and third nationwide lockdown have started to bring down infections.
Gyms, pools, cinemas, and restaurants are reopening for people who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Israel unveiled its plan to allow those who have been vaccinated to attend cultural events, fly abroad, and patronize restaurants and health clubs by using a “green badge” app.
After striking a deal with Pfizer to trade data for doses, Israel’s vaccine campaign became the world’s speediest in the past two months.
Almost half of the country’s population of 9.3 million have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and nearly 3 million have had their second vaccination.
Overview of the Italian fitness/sport situation from ANIF (IHRSA’s National Federation Partner)
- 100 thousand sports associations (30 thousand have fixed facilities)
- 1 million workers
- 20 million active members
- €12 billion /year contribution to the economy
- Loss of €12.5 billion
- ANIF worked (since day 1 of the pandemic) on 3 major strands: support subsidies, reopen as soon as possible and sport system reform
- Subsidies to workers: trainers and receptionists obtained a total of about €10,000 from March 2020 to June 2021
- Very low subsidies to associations: between 4 and 10 thousand euros from March 2020 until now (depending on their average income).
- Layoffs for employees about €16,000 from March 2020 to October 2021
- The closure of clubs has considerably developed the digitalization of activities and 65% of the Italian associations have activated digital workout channels.
- The fitness activity will reopen June 1st (on May 15th only outdoor pools and activities)
- The cash flow is estimated to return to the levels of 2019 by the end of 2022
- 10% of sports centers/clubs won’t be able to reopen due to the inability to cope with the economic losses
- The safety measures will continue to be the same applied since October 2020
ANIF is asking for:
- Higher subsidies for clubs in order to restart their business: at least 30% of the net losses of the entire period (approximately €3.5 billion)
- No “max quotas” restriction to access clubs from September 2021
- Tax deduction option for members on the amount of their “not-enjoyed membership” payment
Clubs have closed again since December 21, 2020, with no reopening date announced.
The government began to relax its measures from April 27, 2020, with sports clubs and fitness centers now open.
Some restrictions were eased after May 31, 2020. Sports clubs and outdoor events with a maximum of 30 participants were allowed to open from May 18. Clubs have closed again since November 6, 2020, with no reopening date yet announced.
Fitness centers, swimming pools, and dance schools can reopen starting next week if the latest law on COVID-19 mitigation measures is decided by Friday.
After the prime minister announced the reopening of nonessential shops from January 11, 2021, Sports Minister Dan Kersch (LSAP) issued a clarification to the Luxembourg parliament’s sports commission on what Bill 7743 will mean for sports activities.
Minister Kersch said that the risk of coronavirus infection during sporting activities was less likely than through social activities. It means that while sports will resume with some restrictions, activities like carpooling to go to training and post-training gatherings will be forbidden.
Under the draft law, individual sport and two-person sports can go ahead without restrictions.
A maximum of 10 people can come together to practice a sports activity at the same time as long as there is a permanent physical distance of at least 2 meters between sports players. Wearing a mask is not mandatory.
It also means it will be possible to gather up to 10 people in a park to practice yoga while respecting the distance of 2 meters per person.
Sports facilities will be able to reopen their doors to the public, provided they have a minimum area of 15m2 for sports activities performed individually, at least 50m2 for activities performed by a maximum of two people, and at least 300m2 for activities performed by a maximum of 10 people. As an example, the minister said three groups of 10 people can practice sports simultaneously in a sports hall with a surface area of 900m2 divided into three lots by a wall or a separation barrier. Coaches (and referees) must be included in the number of 10 people.
Regarding outdoor field sports like football, the sports ministry is expected to publish a list of recommendations, which will include respecting a distance of 20 meters per group of 10 people (without mixing the groups).
Swimming pools will be allowed to accommodate a maximum number of six bathers per 50-meter lane and three per 25-meter lane.
Changing rooms and showers will be accessible to the public provided they do not exceed 10 people per changing room/shower and keep a distance of 2 meters. The wearing of a mask is compulsory in the changing rooms. (Source)
Health clubs are open.
Health clubs have closed again as of March 10, 2021, and will remain closed beyond May 10 (next reopening date for some services).
Moldova has been operating in a state of emergency since May 15, 2020. The government reopened parks on April 27, 2020, so residents are allowed to go for a walk/run or to do other physical activity. Sports facilities and playgrounds and other public movement spaces are still closed, as well as all sports clubs and gyms. People can gather in groups of three maximum (exceptions are families and people living together). There is no effective vaccination program in place due to Moldova being one of the poorest countries in Europe.
The Dutch government had announced a step-by-step reopening of public spaces from May 11, 2020. Children up to 12 years old can exercise together under supervision. Young people from 13 to 18 years old are allowed to exercise outside with each other under supervision, but with a distance of 1.5 meters between them. Outdoor sports in groups are allowed for all ages if a 1.5-meter distance can be kept. No competitions, shared changing rooms, or showers are allowed. Official matches and competitions were not allowed. Municipalities will make agreements with local sports clubs and community sports coaches. Different municipalities may opt for different approaches. Indoor fitness clubs, gyms, and sports clubs were not allowed to open until September 1.
Beginning October 14, 2020, the Netherlands entered a national partial lockdown. A further full lockdown was introduced from December 15 and is now extended until at least March 2, 2021.
Health clubs are closed in some regions with a reopening date to come.
The public was able to use open sports facilities starting May 4, 2020. The government is implementing a gradual relaxation of restrictions in grassroots sports, including sports classes in schools, sport and fitness facilities, and outdoor sports events with up to 50 participants, without spectators.
Due to new outbreaks, all gyms/pools have closed since October 19, 2020, with an expected reopening date of April 28, 2021.
Clubs have been reopened for personal training and machine usage. Exercise classes and swimming pools are also open but do not allow group classes. Clubs are asking for members to social-distance 3m and wear masks, and are also closing at 9 pm on weekdays and 1 pm on weekends.
April 19th, 2021: Clubs will be able to have group classes indoors, and outdoor classes increase from 4 to 6 customers. You can find the government regulations here.
(Information courtesy of PORTUGAL ACTIVO (ex AGAP)
Lockdown was gradually lifted after May 14, 2020, enabling people to move freely within localities. People will be allowed to do outdoor sports but in groups no larger than three persons. However, this restriction will be waived for professional athletes, who will be able to train in groups, under special conditions. Sports competitions will not resume yet.
Indoor pools are not allowed and there is restricted access to fitness clubs (in terms of the number of people who can be in the gym either one at a time or participate in classes). Group fitness classes and PT sessions can take place but with a reduced number of people.
The two largest Russian cities, Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, have extended the coronavirus lockdown until 31 May. The government is working out a 3-stage plan on lifting restrictions, first allowing people to go for walks and exercise on the streets, and opening parks and other recreational facilities in the third stage.
Serbia lifted its restrictions on May 7, 2020, and allowed gyms and fitness centers, parks, and public areas intended for recreation and sports to reopen, subject to Serbian government regulations.
Since clubs are open with restrictions, they have an obligation to provide some epidemiologic measurements, such as:
- Temperature check of each person that enters the club
- Disinfecting of hands and shoes
- Safe distance between people in the club (one person on per 4m2)
- Employees must wear masks at all times
- Clients can take off masks while working out
- Closing time of clubs is now 8 p.m.
Health clubs have been closed since October 15, 2021, reopening announcement is to come.
All clubs in Slovenia have closed again with a further extension until February 16, 2021.
South Africa is still under Level 4 restrictions, but residents were allowed to exercise outside again after 5 weeks on 1 May. There are still strict curfews, so exercise outside is only permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Clubs are currently facing financial problems that we will see in the coming months. For now, there is no talk of permanent closures. Regarding the closure, in some states, the government has begun a new lockdown that includes the closure of facilities.
Clubs are currently open but following the declaration of a National State of Emergency from 6 months from 26 October, clubs have been closed in Catalonia, and other regions are expected to follow.
Prior to the current state of emergency, the government and the autonomous communities reached an agreement in the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System to establish a common protocol for gyms and sports centers. This is because, after the central government left the management of the pandemic in the hands of the regions, sanitary measures were different in each community. By lifting the state of emergency and allowing the regions to direct the protocols, the regulations turned into chaos. In Catalonia, there is a capacity limit of 50%, in Navarra 30%. In some places, they enabled the use of changing rooms, in an autonomous community they allow group classes of six clients and 10 in others.
In early February 2021, Catalan operators received the go-ahead to open again, albeit at 30% capacity and with up to six people for group exercise. Substantial restrictions on traffic remain in place in other regional markets in Spain, and clubs in the Valencian community will not get started again until February 15 at the earliest. (Source: Fitness News Europe, Issue 122)
Outdoor exercise allowed for all. Adult sports matches and tournaments are suspended, but training indoors and outdoors (recommended) is allowed for individuals and groups of under 50 persons. From April 17, 2020, children under 18 can participate in matches and tournaments again. People aged over 70 are advised not to participate in indoor group sports. Gyms remain open according to strict hygiene rules (commercial chain SATS closed for two weeks in March).
Health clubs are closed again until at least the end of February 2021.
Lockdowns on weekends are still in operation as of March 1, 2021. Clubs are allowed to open on weekdays until 8 p.m. There are no announcements as to when this is likely to change. The Fitness Association does not have its own protocols but advises all clubs to follow those issues by the Government's Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Sports clubs and fitness centers reopened on January 25, 2021.
With the latest new strain of coronavirus, a new Tier 4 has been introduced in England which means sports, fitness, health clubs in Tier 4 regions are closed. This is effectively a “stay-at-home” order. The latest details on closures and stimulus packages for all four U.K. nations are in this link from our partners at UK Active.
Clubs in England reopened on April 12, 2021, Scotland reopened clubs on April 26, 2021, Northern Ireland is set for gyms to reopen on April 30, 2021, and Wales announced a reopening on May 3, 2021.