Posted: Fri 2nd Apr 2021

Flintshire swimming clubs write joint letter urging First Minister to reconsider timetable for reopening pools

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Apr 2nd, 2021

On Friday the Welsh government gave more detailed plans for the easing of lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks.

First minister Mark Drakeford has set out series of measures that will take Wales fully into Alert Level 3 by 17th May, but they are subject to public health conditions remaining favourable.

Swimming pools have been closed in Wales across two national lockdowns and one national firebreak, which equates to 43 weeks of the last 52 weeks, according to the national governing body, Swim Wales.

Swim Wales says the decision by the Welsh government to keep pools closed for another 6 weeks “is irrational and lacks logic.”

Fergus Feeney, chief executive of the governing body has written a joint letter along with 80 affiliated clubs including Buckley, Connah’s Quay, Flint and Mold, urging the Welsh government to reconsider the timetable for reopening pools.

As it stands pools will be allowed to reopen from May 17 but Swim Wales says this “is much later than we, as a collective, had hoped for.”

The letter says “our member clubs and participation account for 500,000 Welsh adults and children who swim or are involved in aquatic activity once a week in Wales, that is 16% of the Welsh population.”

“Every one of us has waited patiently for our government to produce a roadmap out of lockdown which would highlight the importance of sport and the benefits it presents to physical and mental health.”

“Over the last 12 months our sector has consistently proved our ability to adapt and respond to the pandemic and put in place the measures and mitigations required to operate safely across our clubs and facilities and this has not been reflected in the news today (Friday).”

“In the 10 weeks of pool opening between September and December, there were less than 10 cases in 500,000 swims recorded by the ONS and T&T (track and trace) systems.”

“In addition to this your own Technical Advisory Group has agreed with the science presented to them by Swim Wales surrounding the neutralising effect of chlorinated water, this has been completely ignored by you and your administration.”

“The delay in the opening of indoor facilities completely contradicts your previous position ‘facilities such as…gyms and leisure centre also did not appear to increase risk of infection’ and leaves us wondering how these decisions were made.”

“To say we are puzzled and confused by your approach is an understatement. ”

“The decision made by the Welsh Government is irrational and lacks logic, and on behalf of the tens of thousands of people we represent we would urge you to reconsider the timetable.”

The first minister said yesterday: “Sacrifices we have all made are having a positive effect in the battle against Coronavirus.”

“This last year has been incredibly difficult for all of us and again I want to thank everyone for their efforts.”

“These efforts have allowed us to gradually ease the restrictions, to gradually introduce more elements of normal life.”

“With the weather improving, with more opportunities to see family and friends, there are reasons for optimism.”

“However, we can’t let our guard down yet. We all still need to be vigilant, we still need to do our part to keep this deadly disease at bay.”

More on the key dates which will see Wales move to Alert Level 3: https://www.deeside.com/first-minister-sets-out-plans-to-further-relax-covid-restrictions-and-move-wales-to-alert-level-3/ 

[Photo: Wynne Construction]

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