GYMS could reopen "within days" as the government is expected to make an announcement on whether they can reopen following three months of closure.

This afternoon the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he wants to make an announcement "imminently," with mid-July set as a target date.

Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have been mothballed following the original order to shut down until further notice in March.

But appearing at the Commons, Mr Dowden said gyms have "engaged very constructively" with the Government to "overcome some of the hurdles".

Today, he said: "I hope to be able to make an announcement imminently in relation to that.

"As I've said previously, the aim has always been to get gyms back by mid-July."

The government came under fire from gym chiefs after pubs, restaurants and cafes were allowed to reopen in England last Saturday.

The Northern Echo:

Glenn Earlam, chief executive of David Lloyd Clubs, said it was a “completely illogical” move to keep gyms shut while pubs could remain open.

He said: “So what we hear is that pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen, but health and fitness facilities won’t be able to.

"To us this is bizarre because we are part of the solution.

“If people come to health and fitness facilities it helps boost their immune system, the chief medical officer has regularly said that health and fitness is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from Covid-19.”

The Northern Echo: Picture: PAPicture: PA

Before this evening's announcement the Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg also said the aim is for the reopening of beauty salons to follow "as soon as possible," but had not given a target date.

He said an announcement on when tattoo and nail parlours, along with other close-contact services can reopen, would however follow as soon as possible.

He said: "The Government has been clear that it wants to reopen the economy carefully and gradually and this is why some businesses which involve less sustained contact between people have opened before others."

*This article was published before the most recent announcement.