Gyms will be allowed to reopen in Merseyside after the UK government failed to provide evidence that they should close under the top-tier strict coronavirus restrictions imposed only a week ago.
Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool city region, has strongly criticised ministers for ordering the closure of gyms and leisure centres in Merseyside while allowing them to remain open in the other tier 3 areas Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
Rotheram announced on Wednesday morning that gyms would be allowed to reopen in the region.
He said the government agreed on Tuesday night that it would rescind its original decision. He told BBC Radio Merseyside: “It’s a very, very difficult period for us all. We’ve been trying to work with the government to understand why this particular suite of restrictions would be the right ones for us and also to get the support package.”
The move represents a humiliating climbdown from Boris Johnson’s government only seven days after the Liverpool city region became the first place in England to enter tier 3 restrictions.
The three-tier lockdown system was designed to simplify the imposition of Covid restrictions across the country but within days it had been beset with difficulties, including a damaging public row with Greater Manchester leaders.
Earlier this week, Rotheram and the region’s six council leaders demanded an urgent review of the closure of gyms after they were allowed to stay open in Lancashire, which struck a tier 3 deal on Friday.