INVERCLYDE Leisure bosses say gym-goers can be confident when they return for their fitness fix thanks to the safety measures being put in place ahead of re-opening.

Staff have been working tirelessly to create safe, socially-distanced spaces ready for when the government gives the green light.

As part of that transformation, the ice rink at the Waterfront Leisure Centre has been temporarily turned into a gym.

Operations manager Stuart Boyle says the centre will be operating a one way system and customers will be asked to enter via the ramp as there are automatic doors at that side, meaning they don't need to touch door handles.

Entry to other gyms will have 'controlled customer flows' with clear signs and floor markings.

Stuart said: "There will be clear signage providing directions and signs advising customers to leave if they feel unwell.

"There are sanitisation stations and sneeze screens with staff behind them wearing PPE.

"There are signs reminding customers to socially distance and equipment has been sectioned off to ensure that people can keep distanced while exercising.

"Gym staff will ask customers to clean each machine using the sanitisation equipment provided both before and after use and we have installed protection screens around the majority of the fitness equipment where spacing was not achievable."

Customers will now need to book gym slots by phoning or going online.

The Waterfront ice rink will be utilised as an additional gym area while it is temporarily closed.

Mr Boyle says he wants to reassure ice rink users that this isn't a permanent move.

He said: "We have constantly been on online meetings with industry experts and national governing bodies and we are using their guidance to shape our approach coming out of lockdown.

"This may mean facilities such as swimming pools, ice rinks and cafes will re-open after our gyms and in phases.

"While these facilities - particularly the ice rink - remain closed, we thought we would utilise and make it into an additional gym area using the equipment we removed from the actual gym, to ensure there is more physical distance between customers.

"As we've reduced the capacity in the studios, we've also created an additional two studio areas within the rink.

"We want to reassure customers that when facilities like ice rinks and swimming pools get the go-ahead, we will look at reopening them with a phased approach and start thinking about reopening some of the other facilities across Inverclyde with the same safety measures."

David McCorkindale, head of facilities, hopes the changes and safety measures will encourage customers back.

He said: "In our fitness studios, we've reduced the capacity of how many people can be in at one time and have marked clearly where those in classes can stand, as they have to be three metres apart.

"Numbers in our skill bike classes have also been reduced to six people to ensure everyone can keep their distance.

"Doors have been wedged to prevent anyone touching them unnecessarily, we have purchased sanitisation machines to improve hygiene in key spots, such as the weights area, and there is a one-way system out with everyone exiting into the car park.

"Our staff, including Jamie Cunningham, Aileen Cameron and Stewart Burns, all pictured, as well as Bobby McVitie and Gary Brown, have been an excellent help in getting everything ready.

"We're really looking forward to welcoming customers back."