September 20, 2020

Coronavirus: When can I go to the gym, nail salon, tattoo studio or pool?

People using rowing machines outside a gym Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Some gyms have moved equipment outside

Gyms, nail bars, swimming pools and tattoo parlours have been among the places still closed in most of the UK.

But they now have reopening dates in England.

When will indoor gyms open?

Indoor gyms, sports halls and leisure centres will now be able to reopen from 25 July.

They will have to follow strict social distancing guidelines, including:

  • Capacity limits, controlled by a timed booking system
  • Reduced class sizes
  • Equipment spaced out and improved ventilation
  • Temporary floor markings in dance studios where possible
  • Customers encouraged to shower and change at home

Outdoor gyms have been open since 4 July because there is less risk of catching coronavirus in the fresh air.

Indoor gyms are due to reopen in Northern Ireland on 10 July. No date has yet been set in Scotland or Wales.

When can I visit a nail bar?

Nail bars have been told that they can reopen on Monday in England.

They are defined by the government as “close contact services”, which it says are some of the “most risky” businesses to reopen.

In the government guidance for these sectors, the “highest risk zone” is defined as “the area in front of the face”.

Image copyright PA Media

Nail technicians usually sit opposite their clients, whereas hairdressers can stand behind their customers, or to the side.

Tanning salons and other close-contact services can also reopen.

However, there will be some restrictions, particularly on beauty salons, which will not be allowed to do any treatments on the face, meaning it will not be viable for all of them to reopen.

In Northern Ireland, nail bars and beauty salons were able to reopen on 6 July along with hairdressers and barbers. They will be allowed to open on 22 July in Scotland and 27 July in Wales.

How will swimming pools reopen?

Swimming pools will be allowed to reopen in England – outdoors from Saturday and indoors from 25 July.

Image copyright Reuters

Before the announcement, Prof Deenan Pillay, from University College London, told the BBC: “Given the amount of chlorine that is in swimming pools, viruses are not going to survive there.

“So it’s not the actual swimming that’s the risk but it is all the other stuff that goes with it – the changing rooms, getting in and out the pool and the risk of shared showers.”

Swim England has published guidance for operators when pools do open, including:

  • Increasing the supply of outside air to pools
  • Implementing a one-way entry and exit system
  • To minimise use of changing rooms, encourage bathers to arrive showered and changed ready to swim.

Swimming pools are not allowed to open anywhere in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland at the moment.

Can I now get a tattoo?

Tattoo artists will be able to start work again on Monday in England.

Tattoo artists also work in very close contact with their customers, sometimes for a long time. Touching people is known to increase the risk of transmitting the virus.

Tattoo artists say it has been frustrating having to stay shut – especially since they have long been required to have measures in place to prevent cross-contamination.

Image copyright PA Media

The Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union says it has submitted a 10-point plan for reopening studios to the government, which includes:

  • wearing masks, face shields, aprons and gloves
  • keeping work stations 2m apart
  • considering relocating or deferring tattoos or piercings that require face-to-face working.

Tattoo studios have been allowed to open in Northern Ireland since 6 July. They will open on 27 July in Wales. No date has been set in Scotland.

What else will now be allowed in England?

Performing arts outdoors, including theatre, opera, dance and music can take place from Saturday. They must:

  • Have a socially-distanced audience
  • Reduce capacity
  • Only accept pre-booked tickets
  • Display clear social distance markings and be deep cleaned between performances

Recreational cricket can take place from this weekend.

  • Five-a-side football, basketball, hockey and other sports will follow
  • Time spent congregating at a venue should be limited
  • Sports where a ball is touched by multiple players should have a plan for cleaning it when it goes out of play
  • Spectators will be allowed in small numbers if they stick to social distancing guidelines.

What is still not allowed?

While there are dates for many businesses to reopen in England, we still do not know when we will be able to return to:

  • Nightclubs
  • Bowling alleys
  • Indoor skating rinks
  • Indoor play areas including soft play
  • Conference centres – the Conservative Party announced earlier this week that its annual conference in October would be held online