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Update on gatherings indoors for the purposes of Sport and Leisure - Facilities Operators & Partners

Swimming, Diving, Artistic Swimming , Water Polo, Education
National, Performance

15th September 2020

Dear Facility Operators & Partners, In a statement published on 10th September from our CEO Fergus Feeney, we mapped out our current focus which is centred on 2 key areas:

  1. The removal of the Max.30 restriction placed on pools by Welsh Government
  2. Funding for the sector from UK & Welsh Governments to support the Operators and Local Authorities who are facing significant financial challenges


Through our continued dialogue with Welsh Government officials and the Welsh Sports Association, we are delighted to say that yesterday Welsh Government confirmed that our proposal was accepted and that the guidance around “gatherings” indoors will be changed to allow these spaces to operate more effectively, whilst also helping to keep users safe. Welsh Government guidance will be amended at the next available opportunity to say the following:

“Where people exercise together indoors at a fitness studio, gym, swimming pool, other indoor leisure centre or facility or any other open premises, gatherings should not exceed 30 people and physical distancing must be maintained. Examples of people exercising together include a group swimming lesson or fitness class, and swimming or gym sessions open to the general public.

Simultaneous gatherings of individuals and groups up to 30 people are allowed within a large space such as a swimming pool, a gym, or a sports hall, as long as the space allows for physical distancing, with groups and individuals separated and managed safely. This should only be considered where space is sufficient to allow 100sqft per person or 3sqm per bather as set out in UK Active Guidance, where entry and exit for individuals and groups can be managed, and where the space can be partitioned so individuals and groups do not interact, without limiting the ability to allow appropriate ventilation and control environmental factors such as humidity in each space.”

This will allow for more efficient usage of spaces that are large enough to operate strict physical distancing and ensure that the venue otherwise remains ‘COVID safe’.

The floor space calculation for dry activities is 100sq ft per person, and within the pool is 3 sqm. This is in line with the UK Active guidance in place in England. These will have different implications for the capacity of indoor spaces in pools and dry side. The Swim Wales guidance is being updated by our team as I write, this will be published on our website and can be found here:

National Campaign

Swim Wales has reviewed its communication and campaign plans and based on feedback from the Welsh public, our member clubs and partner operators we have decided that the timing is right for a national campaign to call for a rescue package or funding for the sector to financially support facilities, and ultimately saving swimming.

The #arbednofio (Save swimming, with all aquatic disciplines in mind) campaign will be calling on all local authorities, private operators, member clubs and the 500,000 people who were using our pools every week to come together and appeal for funding for the leisure sector from UK & Welsh Governments to support those facing significant financial challenges.

The #arbednofio campaign calls on your support, and your passion for Aquatics to help us make a real difference, now and for future generations. We will be sharing more information on how you can get behind the national campaign at our chair & facility group engagement sessions this week (15th & 16th) with a view to launching the campaign on 24th September 2020. We have seen over the last 6 months that there is strength in our collective the national governing body has stood by our clubs and our facility partners throughout this massive challenge and together we will do everything in our power to not only help current swimmers, players and participants but the next generation too #Arbednofio #Saveswimming

Thank you for you continued support,

Simon Clarke

Head of Aquatic Development, Swim Wales