Scots entrepreneur and former Dragons Den star Duncan Bannatyne has implored the First Minister to allow gyms to reopen or he says some of his sites north of the border could be at risk.

In a letter sent to Nicola Sturgeon and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, Mr Bannatyne said: “We have in excess of 600 people working in our Scottish Clubs and almost 34,000 members, making a vital contribution to the local economies. I implore you to publish a reopening date or else we may be forced to close a number of sites."

He said he had written to the MSP for each one of his Scottish clubs and invited them to tour their local site so that safety measures can be showcased and scrutinised.

Mr Bannatyne added he would happily extend the invitation to the First Ministers and her advisors.

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Speaking exclusively to The Herald, he added: “In England, we have worked with the Chief Medical Officer and other Government advisors on airflow rates to ensure that our customers and staff are not put at risk. Where we have smaller city centre and subterranean sites and airflow/social distancing requirements could not be achieved, we have taken the decision to delay their re-opening.

“One London site has permanently closed. This is not the case in any of our Scottish sites, as these are all large and spacious. I am extremely confident that the Bannatyne Group’s Scottish clubs, with lots of space, large windows and ample natural or mechanical ventilation, can accommodate members safely and maintain social distancing without risk to health.”

Mr Bannatyne said it would take around 10 days to have his Scottish sites, which includes ones in Edinburgh, Falkirk, Dunfermline and Ayr, fully up and running when the green light is given and said he can see no reason for a delay now.

He added it has been highlighted how health and fitness play an important role in fighting Covid-19 and said they have worked very closely with the Westminster Parliament to allow 50 of their clubs to reopen in the past week.

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Mr Bannatyne said he had to hand it to Ms Sturgeon on the way she had handled the coronavirus crisis in Scotland, but said no saw no reason to delay health club openings any longer.

Strict measures have been put in place in the sites which have reopened and members are not allowed in premises without face masks or coverings.

Measures include temperature screening all entrants to sites including staff, members, contractors, and suppliers; prohibiting entry to anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms; mandatory hand cleaning and sanitisation on entry.

There is also social distancing of two metres throughout the sites and a comprehensive track and trace system, which will assist in the event of a positive test.

In yesterday's daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon addressed sectors which had not yet been able to reopen saying "we know that these sectors want indicative dates and guidance around the safety measures that we will require to be in place. We will do all that as quickly as possible."