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Orchard Leisure Centre one of three pools to re-open as phased return of swim facilities revealed

Reduced rate offered during month of August and new measures are being introduced in interest of health and safety of visitors

Armagh Swimming Pool

A number of local swimming pools – including the Orchard Leisure Centre in Armagh – are due to reopen to the public from next Friday, August 7.

And there is to be a reduced rate throughout the month and strict new guidance in place to comply with necessary health and safety measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s part of a phased reopening.

The swimming pool facilities initially getting up and running again are Banbridge Leisure Centre, Cascades Leisure Complex and Orchard Leisure Centre.

In this initial reopening phase, individual lane swimming only will be available for those aged 16 and over. Recreational swimming, including family swimming sessions, will not be available, however additional updates will be communicated via social media and local press as the phased reopening progresses.

Timetables will vary across each location and users are advised to visit for up to date information and for details on how to book sessions.

Due to Covid-19, the user experience will be slightly different, incorporating new safety measures to provide safe, but friendly, leisure environments for everyone to enjoy. Sauna, steam rooms and spa pools will not be available at this time until further notice. There are four simple steps to remember when using any leisure facility.

Step 1: Book in advance:

All sessions must be pre-booked online in advance via or by telephoning the relevant facility. This way reduces queuing in reception areas and allows for contactless payment.

Step 2: Access to facilities has changed:

Changing rooms will be available for swimmers, however, showers are not permitted at this time. Until showering is available in centres, we highly recommend that all swimmers shower at home soon after their swim.
Users are advised to bring their own drinking water, as water fountains will remain out of use.
Strict hygiene and social distancing rules will be in place, with a one-hour time limit in the swimming pool.
Only individual lane swimming is permitted at this time for those aged 16 and over. Recreational and family swimming is not available during the initial reopening phase.
To meet the government guidelines for gathering size limits and social distancing, entry into swimming pools will be limited and capacity will depend on the size of each location.

Step 3: Personal responsibilities

Please respect the social distancing floor markers when queuing.
Use the hand sanitiser provided on entry, and when leaving each facility and exercise area.
Do not attend any facility if you are feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, or if you are in a period of self-isolation.
Practice good respiratory hygiene.

Step 4: It’s a new experience for everyone

The customer experience may look and feel a little different than usual, but as always, staff will be there to guide customers.
The health and safety of all users is a priority at all facilities, and users should be assured that each facility operates to the highest standards of Public Health Agency (PHA) guidelines.

Public Swimming – Rules and Guidelines (Based on regulatory guidance)

· All swimmers must be 16 years of age or older to swim until further notice.

· Each session “in the water time” is 60 mins max – 60 mins cannot be guaranteed at all times.

· Butterfly, backstroke, and armbands/floats are not permitted.

· For public lane, sessions there will be three double-width lanes only available in each pool. These will be limited to a maximum of eight swimmers per lane in our three pools. There will normally be one slow speed lane, one medium speed lane and one fast speed lane.

· Slow speed, medium speed and fast speed lanes should be booked in advance.

· Toilet facilities are available for public use.

To book your swim session, even if you don’t have a leisure membership, please visit Swim sessions are being offered at a reduced cost of £2.35 per session for the month of August and booking is available now at

If you are already a member but haven’t set up your account to book online, visit to find out how to link your membership.

Throughout the month of August, existing all-inclusive members will not be charged for any activity, including gym sessions, exercise classes and swim sessions, to compensate for the period of closure during Covid-19.

All existing members of facilities that remain closed are welcome to use any of the other facilities that are open during this exceptional time. As soon as reopening dates are agreed for the other facilities, these will be posted on the council’s social media platforms.

The new South Lake Leisure Centre will open to the public on 2 November 2020. To accommodate this in the Craigavon area the three existing facilities will phase out of operation:

Cascades Leisure Complex will be open to the general public for swimming only on Saturdays until 10 October 2020.
Craigavon Leisure Centre will remain open until Monday 12 October 2020 for gym only activity.
Waves Leisure will remain closed and will not reopen to the public.

The leisure services team is really looking forward to welcoming everyone back into the facilities and they would like to thank users in advance for their patience and cooperation as everyone adapts to these new ways of operating.

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