Gyms, pools and beauty salons will finally be allowed to reopen this month, it has been confirmed.
The welcome news comes after countless businesses across the country were forced to close their doors for more than three months of lockdown.
The government confirmed the news at a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, with culture secretary Oliver Dowden announcing that, from Saturday 11th July, amateur team sports can resume and outdoor pools can reopen.
Meanwhile, indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres will reopen on 25th July, and beauty salons can open from Monday 13th.
Live performances of theatre, opera and musical events will also be allowed to take place outdoors from this weekend, Mr Dowden added.
He said: “From Saturday 25th people will no longer have to work out in their park or on their living room floor. They’ll be able to get back into their gyms, their indoor swimming pools, their leisure centres and jump on that spin bike or treadmill for the first time in months.”
He added: “Beauticians, tattoo artists and spas, tanning salons and other close contact serves can do the same from Monday.”
The government has come under increased pressure from salon owners to let them reopen, with many arguing that their hygiene procedures made them just as safe as hair salons – which, along with pubs and restaurants, were given the green light to reopen last weekend.
Rumours that salons would be given the green light began to swirl earlier this week, with the hashtags #valueofbeauty, #whycantiwork and #letbeauty work all trending on social media.
The beauty industry brings in almost £30 billion a year to the UK GDP and employs around 600,000 people – yet despite operating under strict hygiene and sanitary measures, Public Health England still put salons in the same risk bracket as strip clubs in their latest guidelines – enraging countless beauty professionals.
Earlier this week, Oliver Dowden hinted this week that gyms and leisure centres were on track to reopen, saying: “I hope to be able to make an announcement imminently in relation to that.”
Anthony Franklin, founder of fitness booking platform fibodo, said: “With the number of people allowed in gyms at any one time being impacted, clubs, operators and their customers will have to embrace technology to manage their capacity and payment processing, in order to comply with government guidelines on social distancing and gym and class capacity.
“Booking a time slot will be the new normal, and customers will have the convenience of attending at the specific time chosen – this is the only way that gyms will be able to prevent queues outside like we have seen at high street shops, maintain member confidence and maximize facility usage.
“We’re encouraging gyms big and small to engage their clients in the community and take some of the capacity away from the gym itself, and into gardens, parks and public spaces.”
He added: “Science has proven that outdoor group sessions are safe, and it also helps reduce pressure on gyms indoor facilities. With the added bonus of opening up fitness to a new audience, as sessions take place outdoors, increasing visibility on their doorstep.”