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03 Aug 2020

Gyms and pubs should shut to allow schools to reopen, says SAGE advisor
BY Tom Walker

Michie said gyms and other leisure venues may have to close in order to achieve 'zero Covid'

Michie said gyms and other leisure venues may have to close in order to achieve 'zero Covid'
photo: University College London/David Bishop

A member of SAGE, the government’s independent group of scientific advisers, has said gyms, pubs and other leisure venues may have to close in England in order for schools to reopen, if we are to eliminate COVID-19.

There is no indication that this is government policy.

Speaking to The Independent, Susan Michie said indoor venues – including gyms – should shut in an effort to reach “zero COVID”.

Later, on Twitter, Michie suggested that allowing schools to open in September should be treated as a priority – even if it means the closing of gyms and pubs.

Michie responded to a Tweet from medical researcher and director of the Wellcome Trust, Sir Jeremy Farrar, who suggested that England faced "difficult choices, priorities as the country was close to the limit of lifting restrictions that do not lead to increased transmission".

His comments related to a Guardian article by SAGE member Graham Medley, which called for pubs to close to allow schools to reopen.

Michie wrote: "Are they difficult choices? Indoor pubs and gyms vs schools. ... maybe the Govt could do more to engage with and listen to the British people to find out their values and priorities."

Gyms and leisure centres in England were able to reopen on 25 July. The Scottish government, meanwhile, has kept fitness facilities closed, as has the Welsh Assembly.



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