GYMS should be allowed to open in level four coronavirus areas to help improve physical and mental health over winter, the Scottish Conservatives have said. 

The party’s leader Douglas Ross said ditching the closure policy “would do immense good”.

Gyms are currently closed under level four restrictions, which cover 11 council areas in Scotland and around two million people.

Gyms in England were approved to re-open, across all tiers, following the end of lockdown this week.

The Scottish Tories said studies in Europe and England have found low Covid case rates at gyms, with transmission rates well below one per 100,000.  

Mr Ross said: “There is a growing demand from many residents in tier four locations to be allowed to use their local gyms once more and the Scottish Conservatives think they are right and it would do immense good.  

“Reopening the gyms will help boost physical activity which will reap rewards for people’s mental health

"This is very important as the isolation caused by Covid restrictions can take a serious toll on an individual’s wellbeing.”

Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, said level four “has to be fairly severe” to drive down prevalence of the virus.

Addressing the issue at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, he said gyms are “not risk-free”. 

He added: “Gym outbreaks are happening, they have happened around the world and around the UK. 

“They are unusual and rare because the mitigation is really, really good, and that’s why they are allowed to open at level three where a lot of things aren’t.”