Neil McEvoy. Leader of the Propel, is calling for gyms to be reclassified as essential service providers to assist people with mental health issues and to improve physical health.
Neil McEvoy MS said,
“I am very worried at what will become of people during this new lockdown. I have heard of a number of suicides in the Cardiff area during lockdown and since. I have visited a series of gyms in the Cardiff area and met many gym users, as well as owners. The common thread is that the gyms are an outlet for people suffering with mental health conditions. In some respects, the gym is medicine. The endorphins which come with exercise have a physical effect and aid both physical and mental well-being.
“Gyms in Wales must be taken out of lockdown and should be re-opened, as they have been in Liverpool. Gyms should be reclassified as essential service providers.
“There is no evidence to link gyms to the spreading of Covid-19. Of course, there is a risk with everything, but I have not come across anything related to any of the gyms I have visited through their stringent track and trace.
“I do not see this virus going anywhere. We have to manage risk and protect the vulnerable. Covid-19 is now killing people indirectly through canceled appointments, a lack of referrals and suicide. In England and Wales, around 100 extra people per day are dying at home right now and only a very small number are Covid related.”
Otis Williams, the owner of Elympia Gym, a social enterprise in Ely in Cardiff said:
“Our gym saves lives. We lost a member to suicide in lockdown. We had the Government press conference live on tv at the gym when they announced lockdown. The members in the gym were devastated. There was total silence. I am very worried about the safety of our members. We are one big community. All gyms provide a vital and essential service. We must be allowed to stay open.”
Neil McEvoy has written to both the First Minister and Health Minister, urging a change of course.