A HEALTH and fitness industry advisory body has said they are disappointed after it was announced gyms and leisure facilities won't reopen until September.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an indicative date of September 14 for reopening for gyms and swimming pools - although she stressed these places posed a "particular risk and require a cautious approach".

She said the situation would be reviewed again in three weeks' time "and if it is judged reasonable to do so, we will seek to accelerate this to the end of August".

It comes just days after The Herald exclusively revealed Scots entrepreneur and health club owner Duncan Bannatyne had written to Ms Sturgeon imploring her to set a reopening date. He feared the continued closure would put jobs at his 11 Scottish sites at risk.

Read more: Former Dragons Den star and health club tycoon Duncan Bannatyne calls on First Minister to set gym reopening date

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, which advises health clubs, said: “We are hugely disappointed and frustrated by the announcement by the Scottish Government that gyms and leisure facilities will not reopen until 14 September. These facilities should be open now, and the sector should be afforded the respect given to other parts of society.

“Our sector deserves clarity but sadly this is lacking from the Government’s actions to date, posing the threat of permanent closure to hundreds of gyms and leisure facilities which provide a vital public health service to communities across Scotland. We remain completely confident in addressing any questions the Government and health officials may have, questions still yet to be raised with the sector, based on the comprehensive health and safety guidance we published and shared with the Government.

“Furthermore, we have consistently invited Government and health officials to visit any of the hundreds of gym and leisure centre show sites across the country, and witness how facilities would operate with thorough social distancing measures and hygiene standards in place. This invite should be taken up, as the failure to visit facilities undermines the decision making process within the Scottish Government."

Read more: Frustration among fitness centres as gym bosses who feel left behind and urge Scottish Government to set reopening date

Mr Edwards added: “Greater Government engagement and clarity is now crucial. This is a health crisis, and this sector is safe to reopen and lead the fightback against COVID-19.

“Conversations will continue with Government this afternoon to establish a clear roadmap to reopening.”