Swim Wales Responds To Pool Closures After First Minister Announces Indefinite Lockdown

Swim Wales July
Picture Courtesy: Swim Wales

Swim Wales CEO Fergus Feeney has responded to the news that all leisure centres in Wales will be closed after 24 December with the country set to go into an indefinite lockdown following the Christmas period.

On Wednesday, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford announced new rules for Christmas with one in five of those tested being positive for the coronavirus.

Rules include the reduction of the numbers of households that can meet indoors from three to two and will be made law during the five-day Christmas period.

Alert level four restrictions will then come into force from 28 December and will be reviewed after three weeks.

This means:

  • People have to stay at home and only mix with people in their household or support bubble
  • Non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers, hospitality businesses, leisure centres and holiday accommodation to close and only essential travel allowed.
  • Indoor and outdoor attractions to be closed but wedding ceremonies and funerals can continue with limited numbers and without a reception or wake.
  • Schools, places of worship and parks would remain open.

Feeney described the closure of pools and leisure centres as “incredibly disappointing” but acknowledged that the safety of the Welsh people was paramount.

He also announced that the Super Series virtual competition will end on 20 December following the three stages contested to date and not at the Super Final as initially planned for January.

Double Olympic silver medallist Jazz Carlin said on social media:

The Swim Wales statement read:

“To all of our stakeholders,

“I wanted to address the announcement from the First Minister of Wales today regarding the closing of close contact services from the 24th December and the new regulations and restrictions in the form of a National Lockdown in Wales from 28th December.

“The First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford today announced that as of end of business 24th December, leisure centres will all close and Wales will enter into an indefinite National lockdown from 28th December. This lockdown will be subject to a legal 3 week review as we experienced in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

“It is of course incredibly disappointing to see our industry shut down once again, however we firmly support the notion that the safety of the Welsh population must come first.

“As an aquatic community, we have been in this position before and we have managed the situation well. There is no reason why as a collective we cannot do this again.

“Swim Wales will continue to support you through this period with online training support and guidance, engagement sessions for all user groups, grant funding support, planning for your organisations future and of course direct liaison with Sport Wales and officials of Welsh Government.

“Regarding the end of Super Series phase 1 and the possibility of Super Series phase 2, the decision has been made to amend the remaining competitive stages of the Super Series 2020.

“Due to the indefinite closure of facilities in early 2021, the decision has been made to close the Super Series after stage 3, therefore the Super Series 2020 will finish on December 20th.

“Winners will be selected using their fastest submitted times across the 3 stages of competition to date and not at the originally planned Super Final in January. Winners will be announced via the Swim Wales social media platforms shortly after stage 3 has finished.

“We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone who has taken part in this competition, and to the volunteers who have made it possible including our coaches, team managers and officials.

“Plans are under way to launch Super Series II in 2021, with preliminary dates as follows:

  • Stage 1 February 15th-21st
  • Stage 2 March 1st – 7th
  • Stage 3 March 15th-21st

“Please note, it is our intention to continue the Super Series as a competitive opportunity through until April, when we hope to see the restart of club competitions across Wales. This will however be dependent on the pilot events which we are working with Welsh Government on.

“We look forward to seeing you all compete again when it is safe to do so, as we launch Super Series II.

“We will monitor the 3 week review period and continue to work with Welsh Government, the Welsh Sports Association, Sport Wales and all stakeholders to ensure a swift and safe return to operation.

“The Welsh Government’s Coronavirus Control Plan was published on Monday of this week, and the document outlines the measures in place at each tier of lockdown in Wales. The document also outlines the thresholds at which the Government will consider moving into, or out of a lockdown tier.

“The Coronavirus Control Plan is available here and provides some insight into lockdown measures we are likely to see well into 2021: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-control-plan-alert-levels-wales 

“We hope you have a great festive season, thank you for all of your support this year and please continue to stay safe and well.

Fergus Feeney

Chief Executive Officer

Swim Wales”

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