Gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools will be able to reopen near the end of this month.

Hertsmere MP and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has now confirmed that these facilities can reopen on July 25.

Mr Dowden explained that giving it the later reopening date will give gyms enough, certainty, clarity and time to reopen safely.

However there will be some changes, including timed booking systems, reduced class sizes, the spacing of equipment and enhanced cleaning.

Face coverings will not be required inside a gym.

Mr Dowden said: “Exercise is incredibly important for both physical and mental health, even at height of lockdown it was considered an essential activity.”

Peter Chapman, the owner of the Anytime Fitness branch at Croxley Business Park said: “We cannot wait for the green light to re-open our club, as many of our members are desperate to get training again after 3+ months of lockdown. 

“Our preparations are well under way with additional cleaning regimes, equipment spaced out and a booking system set up and ready to go so we can manage capacity.

“After speaking to nearly all our members in the last 8 weeks I have been encouraged by their willingness to rejoin as soon as possible, and their support in helping us keep our business going in the last few months have been invaluable.”

Mr Dowden also announced today that from this weekend (July 11), theatres and operas can start showing shows.

Artists, musicians and dancers can also start performing outside, and outdoor pools can also reopen on July 11.

Beauticians, tanning salons, spas and other facilities can also continue from Monday (July 13), after some complaints that they couldn’t reopen along with other hospitality facilities on July 4.