SPORTS and gym fans will be able to return to leisure centres in Reading next week.

Reading Sport and Leisure (RSL) centres at Meadway Sports Centre, Palmer Park Sports Stadium and South Reading Leisure Centre will reopen from Monday, August 3.

It will be a phased reopening, with the safety of the public and staff as a top priority.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) will be closely following the national guidance and governing body safety recommendations, including measures such as an enhanced cleaning schedule at all centres and staff working in small ‘bubbles’ to reduce the risk of transmission.

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Centres will display clear safety guidance signage and where appropriate, queuing and one-way systems.

To begin with, centre opening times will be reduced and the number and variety of activities offered will be limited to allow for social distancing guidelines.

Customers will need to pre-book gym, exercise classes and swimming online at or by calling the leisure centre directly.

The new opening times can also be viewed on the RSL website.

The pool at South Reading will be welcoming back swimming clubs and offering a small number of public adult lane swimming sessions.

Numbers will be limited due to restrictions with changing room space, following Swim England safety guidance.

Initially communal areas will be closed off.

Changing rooms will only be available for the use of toilets, with showers closed.

The number of people using the swimming pool changing rooms will be limited, with members advised to change at home first where possible.

Meadway pool will remain closed for now.

The outdoor track facilities have already opened to clubs at Palmer Park, and the gym will reopen on August 3.

The council is asking all visitors to follow the safety guidance when visiting leisure centres by not visiting if they are unwell and maintaining a distance when they visit.

Face coverings will not be mandatory but are advised if possible.

Hand sanitiser will also be provided.

Cllr Jason Brock, leader of the council, said: "We are really pleased to be able to invite people back to our leisure facilities, after such a long stretch of being closed.

"Our leisure team has been working incredibly hard behind the scenes in preparation for opening our doors again. With safety as our main priority, there is a lot to make sure we get absolutely right.

"Like many other council services that are reopening, this will be a phased process to ensure all the right safety measures are in place and that we can allow for social distancing and enhanced cleaning routines.

"We are asking everyone to be patient with us as in the early stages this will not be an immediate return to a normal, full leisure service, but we hope in time to build on the offer.

"Our centres will initially look and work quite differently to normal – with queuing and one-way systems and you will need to pre-book any activities.

"Re-introducing swimming, for example, is one of our biggest challenges.

"Please only visit if you have booked in advance.

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"We are asking everyone to follow the safety guidance when visiting our centres, including maintaining a 2m distance from others and good hygiene practice, such as regular use of the hand sanitiser we’ve provided and wiping down the equipment you’ve used with spray disinfectant.

"You can find out more about what to expect at"

RSL will continue to provide its free virtual exercise classes here.

Rivermead, operated by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), reopened on July 25.

Find out more here.