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Coronavirus: When can I go to the gym again and can I go swimming?


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Some gyms have moved equipment outside

Outdoor pools, nail bars and tattoo parlours have already reopened, as lockdown restrictions are eased.

They will soon be followed indoor gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools

All are having to make changes to keep customers safe.

When will indoor gyms open?

Indoor gyms have now reopened in Northern Ireland.

In England, they will be able to reopen from 25 July, along with sports halls and leisure centres.

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.

No reopening date has yet been set in Scotland or Wales.

How will swimming pools reopen?

Outdoor swimming pools can now reopen in England – and indoor pools can welcome the public again from 25 July.

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Before the change to the rules was confirmed, 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 of the pool and the risk of shared showers.”

Swim England has published guidance for operators on how to reopen, including:

  • Increasing the supply of outside air to pools
  • Implementing a one-way entry and exit system
  • Minimising the use of changing rooms by encouraging people 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.

What do nail bars and beauty salons have to do?

Nail bars and beauty salons in England can now reopen.

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

Nail technicians usually sit opposite their clients, which increases the risk of virus transmission, whereas hairdressers can stand behind their customers, or to the side.

Tanning salons can also reopen.

Certain safety measures must be followed, including:

  • Using screens to protect staff and customers
  • Only accepting pre-booked appointments
  • Avoiding skin-to-skin contact
  • Customers must not eat or drink anything except water

The restrictions on beauty salons do not allow treatments on the face, meaning it will not be viable for all of them to reopen.

Treatments still prohibited include those for eyelashes and eyebrows as well as threading services, which are a form of facial hair removal.

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

Can I now get a tattoo?

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Tattoo artists can also now work again in England – following similar safety guidelines to nail bars and beauty salons.

They work in very close contact with their customers, often 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.

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

  • wearing masks, face shields, aprons and gloves
  • keeping work stations 2m (6ft) 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 yet been set in Scotland.

What else will now be allowed in England?

Arts performances can now resume outdoors, including theatre, opera, dance and music. Events 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 has also now resumed, while five-a-side football, basketball, hockey and other sports will follow. However:

  • 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, it is still not clear when customers 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

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