Nail bars, tanning salons and tattoo parlours will be allowed to reopen across England on Monday while gyms will be able to welcome back customers from July 25, the Government announced this evening.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden today set out the latest lockdown easing at a Downing Street press conference as he said outdoor swimming pools can reopen on Saturday.
He also published guidance to enable competitive grassroots team sports to resume, beginning with cricket this weekend.
Outdoor arts performances – including theatres, opera, dance and music – will also be able to resume from the weekend although audience numbers will be restricted and will be subject to social distancing rules.
There will also be a pilot programme launched to figure out how to return to socially distanced indoor performances ‘as soon as possible’.
Meanwhile, Mr Dowden said a change in planning rules will mean theatres, concert halls and live music venues will be protected from demolition or change of use by developers, stopping those that have been made temporarily vacant during lockdown disappearing altogether.
He said that ‘normal life is slowly returning’, telling the press conference: ‘Having allowed hairdressers to reopen, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can now do the same, I’m pleased to say, from Monday.
‘Of course that will be subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services.’
Oliver Dowden today announced that gyms in England will be allowed to reopen from July 25
Mr Dowden urged the nation to give their support to the struggling arts sector as he said that it is now time to ‘work out to help out’.
He said: ‘I’m really urging people to get out there and to play their part: buy the tickets for outdoor plays and musical recitals, get to your local gallery and support your local businesses.
‘Our fight began with a collective effort and I really hope it will end with one. At the beginning we all stayed at home to protect the NHS and save lives, now the British public has a new part to play.
‘It’s time to eat out to help out, to enjoy the arts to help out and to work out to help out. It’s over to all of you to help the country recover safely.’
Mr Dowden said that fitness is ‘incredibly important for both physical and mental health’ as he outlined the Government’s plans to get people back in the gym.
‘Even at the height of the lockdown it was considered an essential activity with countless people hitting their parks for their daily run or transforming their living rooms into temporary gyms,’ he said.
‘From this weekend onwards millions of people will be able to rejoin their local sports teams as soon as their organisations publish approve guidance.
‘Recreational cricket is back on this weekend. Five a side football, basketball, hockey and countless other sports will follow shortly after.
‘And from this Saturday they will also be able to enjoy outdoor pools and water parks.
‘From Saturday July 25 people will no longer have to work out in their park or on their living room floor, they will 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.’
Mr Dowden’s announcement came after Nicola Sturgeon announced a wave of changes for Scotland as she further eased lockdown north of the border.
The changes mean that hairdressers, indoor pubs and restaurants, museums, and galleries can all reopen on July 15.
Places of worship will be able to reopen for communal prayer and congregational services on the same day but there will be restrictions on numbers, singing and chanting.
The Government has been facing increasing pressure from MPs and the fitness industry to announce the return of the nation’s gyms.
He had earlier today told the House of Commons that he intended to make an announcement ‘imminently’ on the issue.
Mr Dowden had said that gyms had ‘engaged very constructively’ with the Government to ‘overcome some of the hurdles’ to them welcoming back customers.
He had said: ‘I hope to be able to make an announcement imminently in relation to that.
‘As I’ve said previously, the aim has always been to get gyms back by mid-July.’
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg had also said the aim was for the reopening of beauty salons to follow ‘as soon as possible’.
Responding to a request from Tory Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) for more information about when beauty salons can resume work, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘Our hope is to reopen gyms and leisure facilities in mid-July.
‘Other close-contact services, tattoo and nail parlours, will follow as soon as possible.
‘The Government has been clear that it wants to reopen the economy carefully and gradually and this is why some businesses which involve less sustained contact between people have opened before others.’
Mr Rees-Mogg said he was not a ‘native gym-goer personally’, telling Tory MP Caroline Ansell: ‘I did have to go occasionally in my childhood and never quite recovered from the experience, but many people up and down the country will be very keen to get back to sports centres, gymnasiums, and swimming pools to get themselves into peak physical performance.
‘And they can then compensate by eating out to get back the calories that they’ve just worn off when they have been in the gymnasium.’