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Iffley Road Sports Centre reopens after 197 days

Iffley Road Sports Centre reopened this morning 197 days after it closed its doors in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reopening comes in time for the start of the University of Oxford’s Michaelmas term on 11 October.

In their most recent coronavirus update, Oxford University Sport (OUS) stated: “We appreciate this has been a long and frustrating wait and are thankful for your patience, but the University wanted to ensure it was best placed to students, staff and the wider community”.

The centre will be opening from 6:30 to 20:30 Monday to Thursday, 6:30 to 18:00 on Fridays and 7:30 to 15:30 on Saturdays. The reduced hours have been implemented since the centre requires more staff per shift to sanitise facilities in between use to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

OUS have detailed the precautions being taken to protect staff stating: “Our enlarged shift teams during the operating hours will act as ‘bubbles’, so always two distinct shifts that won’t mingle”. The wearing of face masks will be mandatory until members arrive at their exercise space.

An additional £33,000 in contract cleaning has been budgeted up to July 2021 to facilitate increased cleaning staff presence and ensure deep cleans of up to 30 minutes between sessions.

The swimming pool, main gym, running track and artificial pitch are all among the facilities being reopened although the dojo, fives courts, cricket centre, squash courts and powerlifting gym will remain closed until further notice.

OUS have stated that annual, seasonal and usage memberships will be extended by 197 days.

During the centre’s closure, OUS offered various online classes and launched a new MobileApp in June, stating that they recognised that “staying active and being healthy is the best way to boost your immunity and avoid future illness”. All facilities at the centre require a bookable session to be made via the MobileApp so that the centre is able to adhere to test and trace protocols and contact attendees if necessary.

The full update by OUS including an FAQs section can be accessed here: https://www.sport.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus#collapse2297296

Uma Gurav

Uma (she/her) is the Sports Editor for The Oxford Blue. She is going into her second year studying History and English at Wadham College. Her personal favourite sports are football, dance and chocolate-biscuit-eating.