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Still ‘too dangerous’ to reopen UK spas, says Boris Johnson

23 Jun 2020
UK spas will continue to remain closed until further notice, following an announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today (23 June 2020).

There were already signs the government was rowing back on reopening the sector, as leaks and briefings which – days earlier – had mentioned gyms and spas, began to have these removed from around mid-day yesterday.

Johnson laid out the government’s plans to ease lockdown in parliament this afternoon where he outlined that the alert level has been downgraded from level four to level three and that the two-metre social distancing rule will be eased to one-metre plus as of 4 July.

Facilities permitted to reopen will include restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, campsites, visitor attractions, playgrounds, cinemas, libraries and community centres.

On the list deemed still too dangerous to reopen by government scientists are spas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, bowling alleys, waterparks and nightclubs.

Johnson gave no definitive date of when spas will be allowed to reopen but instead said that the government will offer support to the sector to prepare for reopening, saying: "We’ll establish task forces to work with these sectors to help them become COVID-secure and allow them to reopen".

Following the announcement, culture minister, Oliver Dowden, tweeted that gyms are actually working towards opening in mid-July.

As spas were being mentioned in the same space as gyms by Johnson, this could hint both types of facilities may be working on a similar timescale for re-opening, however the government has not confirmed or responded to Dowden's tweet, leaving speculating surrounding the plan moving forward.

Johnson did reveal that hair salons will be allowed to reopen on 4 July as long as staff wear visors.

"We intend to allow some other close contact services such as nail bars to reopen as soon as we can when we’re confident that they can operate in a COVID-secure way,” he said.

According to the UK Spa Association’s (UKSA) recent survey findings, the spa industry urgently needs government guidance about reopening.

Although progress has been made, the industry is still unclear as to what it should be demanding of consumers and staff alike, in order to welcome guests back safely.

The UKSA warns there's a danger amid this confusion for individual spa businesses to interpret things for themselves, which could lead to inconsistency across spas, consumer confusion, and ultimately industry reputational damage.

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