THE county’s clubs have been united in disappointment after pools were omitted from the updated relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers are among the businesses the government say can now reopen on July 4.

But leisure centres have to wait, a decision which British Swimming chief executive Jack Buckner described as a “really poor decision”.

He added: “So much great work has gone on to prepare for pools and indoor sports facilities to reopen.

“We can be trusted in sport to respect the rules and do a great job for the nation’s health and fitness.”

Recommendations from Swim England have included widening lanes, limiting the number of swimmers in the pool at any one time and keeping changing rooms closed.

Clubs are backing the #openourpools campaign, while a petition to have the topic considered for discussion in parliament has already hit the required 100,000 signatures.

Nick Richmond, City of Oxford’s treasurer, said: “It’s disappointing and frustrating.

“The swimmers are desperate to get back in the pool, it’s such a large part of their lives.

“The campaign is growing and we just hope the people who make the decisions will consider the sport a bit more closely.

“Pools are an antiseptic environment.”

Craig Oliver, head coach at Bicester Blue Fins, said: “If it’s safe for some of the other areas to open, pubs and cinemas, it blows my mind fitness and sport can be restricted.

“We were hoping to tell the members we could start on July 6. Unfortunately this pushes us back.

“There are some hopes about being able to go back in mid-July, but it’s a case of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

Abingdon Vale had contacted all parents of members, with the vast majority being comfortable about a return.

Julia James, the club’s chair, said: “We were really disappointed that pools weren’t on the list.

“Mid-July has been mentioned and that’s our hope now.

“We have done a lot of work with Swim England to follow the guidelines and will be ready to go as soon as the government allows.”