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Update: 16 July

Following our brief update earlier this week, we now have more guidance from Public Health Rochdale and leading industry bodies and are able to give more information about Step 4 of the Roadmap and what this means for Your Trust venues.

The health and safety of our customers, visitors and staff has always been our highest priority. Following advice and guidance, there will be a gradual easing of restrictions with some safety measures remaining in place to ensure that you have continued confidence that venues are safe places to visit.

Face coverings

From Monday, wearing a face covering is now a personal choice.  For the safety of others, we ask that you continue to wear a face covering, if you are able to, when moving throughout the centre and in crowded spaces.   Our staff will be continuing to wear face coverings.

Safety measures

Cleaning stations, hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning protocols will remain in place, and we encourage you to continue to follow the safety measures including hand washing or use of hand sanitisers and cleaning equipment after every use.

Protective screens will remain in reception and café areas.


The current protocols will remain in place until further notice, with reduced numbers of people being able to access at any one time.

Events, Entertainment and Culture

Local Studies will reopen to the public for limited hours from Wednesday 21 July, but will be by appointment only and click-and-collect.

Bookings will remain in place for workshops, talks and tours at Touchstones but pre-booking for general admission will be no longer be required.

We will move to full capacities for events at Middleton Arena whilst still adopting the See It Safely protocols and continuing our ‘Book with Confidence’ approach. It is “expected and recommended” that people should wear face coverings in crowded places – unless they are exempt, so we encourage customers to wear a face covering in the auditorium and moving around the venue.

Leisure Centres

Changing rooms

Changing rooms at Heywood Sports Centre, Middleton Arena and Rochdale Leisure Centre will open in full and will include the use of all showers, hair dryers and hand dryers.

At Littleborough Sports Centre, whilst the venue remains shared with the covid-19 vaccination centre, the changing rooms remain closed until further notice.

Gym Equipment

Gym equipment that has been spaced will be moved back into the gym and will no longer be in other areas of the centre.  We aim to do this with minimal disruption but we will need a short closure to allow us to move the equipment safely.

On Tuesday 20 July, the gym at Heywood Sports Village will be closed 8am – 11am and Middleton Arena will be closed 11am – 2pm

On Wednesday 21 July, the gym at Rochdale Leisure Centre will be closed 9.30am – 1pm.

During this time, your membership enables use at other leisure centres. If you would like to continue to exercise, you can attend the gym in another centre that is convenient to you.

Gym Bookings

From Monday, pre-booking of gym sessions will no longer be required.
Pre-booking for Junior / Youth Gym sessions will remain in place and these should continue to be booked online or in centre.

Group Exercise Classes

Following the move of equipment back into gyms, group exercise classes will return to the group exercise studios.Capacity restrictions for group exercise classes will gradually be eased and we will have a phased approach to increasing numbers in sessions.  We will also gradually increase the number of group exercise classes on the timetable.

Pre-booking will remain in place for all group exercise classes. 

Swimming Sessions

Capacity restrictions for the pool will gradually be eased and we will have a phased approach to increasing numbers in swimming sessions. 

Our current pool programmes will continue until Sunday 25 July and pre-booking for all sessions remains in place. We will then move to a new summer programme on Monday 26 July when some swimming sessions will no longer need pre-booking.

Booking will remain in place for:

  • Lane Swimming
  • Selected Public Swim sessions
  • Aqua Tots
  • Selected Ladies Only Swims

Sauna/Steams Rooms

Saunas and steam rooms will reopen and pre-booking is not required.

Please note that there will be a timetable of female only, male only and mixed sessions in operation at Rochdale Leisure Centre.  You are advised to check sessions before visiting the centre to ensure that you access the correct session(s).

Badminton, Squash and Table Tennis

All activity will return to normal.  We will work with sports clubs/organisations about returning to their activity.

Please note that whilst Littleborough Sports Centre remains a shared venue with the covid-19 vaccination centre, the squash court will remain closed until further notice to house the gym equipment.  For now, if you wish to play squash, please check availability at other leisure centres.

Swimming Lessons

Capacity restrictions for swimming lessons will gradually be eased and we will have a phased approach to increasing numbers in sessions. 

Teachers are able to return to teaching in the water.

Junior Lifeguard and 1:1 swimming lessons

Junior Lifeguard and one to ones will re-commence from Monday 6 September.  Our Swim Academy team will be contacting pupils over the coming weeks.


Capacity restrictions for Gymnastics will gradually be eased and we will have a phased approach to increasing numbers in gymnastics lessons.  Any changes will be in line with British Gymnastics guidance.

Cancelling activities if you are unable to attend

If you are unable to attend a session that you have pre-booked, please don’t forget to cancel to give another person the opportunity to take part.

You can cancel in centre or it only takes a minute to cancel online.
Go to your online bookings account, click ‘My Bookings’ and you will see a list of all of the sessions that you have pre-booked.  Select ‘Cancel’ on the session you no longer wish to attend and your booking will be removed.

We’d like to thank you for your continued support and co-operation and we ask that you continue to treat our team with kindness and respect as changes take place over the coming weeks.

Update: 13 July

Last night the Prime Minister confirmed the move to Step 4 of the Roadmap on Monday 19 July.

We are currently working with Public Health Rochdale and leading industry bodies to review the ongoing guidance and will release full details when this has been confirmed.  

The Prime Minister emphasised caution and the expectation for gradual easing of restrictions, based on informed choice and personal responsibility.  Subject to final confirmation:

  • Capacity restrictions for activities and facilities will gradually be eased and we will have a phased approach to increasing numbers in sessions.  Pre-booking will continue for group exercise classes and some aquatic sessions.
  • Sauna and steam rooms will re-open; bookings are not required.
  • The auditorium at Middleton Arena will re-open to full capacity 

The Government expects and recommends that face coverings are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, and when mixing with people you don’t normally meet.  The wearing of coverings (in transit) will be at the discretion of users as will social distancing etiquette, though face coverings for those who are not exempt will be strongly encouraged. 

To continue support to covid-19 testing and vaccinations throughout the borough, Heywood Civic Centre will remain as a covid-19 testing centre for the foreseeable future and Littleborough Sports Centre will continue as a vaccination centre until 31 August.

All data is being kept under review by the Government so, as always, we will continue to stay up to date with current guidance.  For now, we’d like to thank all of our customers and visitors for sticking with us through these times and for your co-operation and support with adhering to covid-19 measures put in place to keep you and our staff safe.

We will continue working hard, supported by our partners at Rochdale Borough Council, to manage the impacts of the pandemic and support our community throughout the borough to live active, creative, happy and healthy lives.