25 May 2022

Covid lockdown of gyms, golf clubs need review says local Government party member

Gym closure a big issue across all ages says Fianna Fáil senator

coronavirus covid-19

Gym closure should be reviewed claims.

A politician who represents people in Laois and Offaly believes the lifting of lockdown Covid-19 restrictions on gyms and golf clubs should be examined.

Kildare South Fianna Fáil Senator, Fiona O'Loughlin, praised the work of public health officials but she has called on the Government to begin assessing restrictions as Christmas approaches.

Senator O'Loughlin said Ireland has the fastest improving incidence of Covid-19 in Europe with a 43 per cent drop in the last two weeks.

“We cannot drop our guard while our hardworking public health officials grapple with testing, tracing and containment issues, but we also need to look at how we can allow people to live healthy and positive lives under heightened restrictions,” she said.  

The politician who represents Portarlington and surrounding areas said there are areas that restrictions that could have a benefit for health and wellbeing can be reviewed.

“The feedback I have received from people of all age groups is that the closure of gyms is one thing they find particularly difficult to deal with,” she said. 

She said gyms went to huge lengths to comply with Covid protocols, introducing temperature checks, stringent sanitisation rules, and limited training groups. 

“With no evidence of any significant clusters coming from gyms, I think it's time to re-evaluate their status and consider them an essential service,” she said.

The former TD believed golf and health treatment facilities should also be examined.

“We should also look at non-contact sports like golf, which is one of the most popular sports and exercise activities in Ireland. It is widely accepted that playing a non-contact sport in a wide-open outdoor space is one of the safest things people can do recreationally during a pandemic. The evidence shows that among older people, golfers are stronger, have better balance and live longer than equivalent non-golfers,” she said.

Senator O’Loughlin said another area that should be examined is alternative health-treatments like reflexology. She said this can help with anxiety and stress and is complementary to traditional medicine for serious illnesses.

She said Santa has been given an exemption to enable him to get to every child as normal but said that early decisions must be made regarding the travel plans for Irish people living abroad. 

“Many of them have not seen family members for almost a year now and have elderly relatives they need to visit.  People need clarity in order to book flights. Rapid testing at airports is a vital component in making international travel to Ireland possible,” she said.

She called on people to do their best to shop locally and support local businesses as we approach the Christmas season.

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