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Phased re-opening for leisure facilities in southern Oxfordshire

Following government advice that leisure centres can start to reopen from 12 April, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils and their leisure contractor GLL, which runs the Better leisure centres across the districts, have agreed on a phased approach to re-opening.

As the centres vary in size and offer different facilities, they will be independently assessed in line with Covid-19 guidelines before they can open. How the centres then operate and what facilities are available when they open will reflect these guidelines. The phased re-opening will be similar to the approach the councils successfully adopted last year.

Each covid-safe measure put in place will be there for both staff and public safety.

The councils have already resumed some of their outdoor sessions, such as Nordic Walking, and these are also following strict Covid rules.

GLL will contact customers directly with the details of what activities are available and from when, and there will also be updates on the councils’ websites and social media.

In line with the government restrictions the two councils will also take a phased approach to re-opening their respective outdoor pools, at Abbey Meadow in Abingdon, and at Riverside in Wallingford. Last year both pools remained shut as a result of the lockdown restrictions. 

The current plan is to open the pools for the summer season. This is subject to continued progress towards the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. The councils expect to confirm the exact opening dates in the coming weeks, along with the dates for the splash parks at Abbey Meadow, Riverside and at Manor Park Memorial Gardens in Wantage.

When the pools do re-open, to help keep everyone safe, staff and swimmers will need to continue to follow government safety guidelines.

Notes for Editors

In February the Cabinet Office chose GLL to be the “face” of England’s Covid-secure physical activity facilities due to the measures they had put in place to keep staff and customers safe.

You can find out more and book sessions on the Better UK website and on the Better UK app.

There are more details about the guidelines for the reopening of leisure on the government website

For more information about the Active Communities Team on our websites and