Businesses ‘delighted’ to welcome back customers in latest lockdown easing

Businesses have said they are “delighted” to be reopening as part of the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

Theatres, casinos and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen from this weekend as the Government resumes its easing of lockdown restrictions.

From Saturday, socially distanced audiences will be allowed back into indoor venues, while wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also be permitted.

Tattoo studios, beauty salons, spas and hairdressers will all be able to offer additional services from Saturday, including front of face treatments such as eyebrow threading.

Alice Bellamy, from Calne in Wiltshire, has been a beauty therapist for 27 years and runs specialist laser hair removal studio Woman to Woman & The Male Perspective Ltd.

She said she was delighted to be offering a wider range of treatments again.

The 67-year-old added: “I am indeed delighted.

“One day’s notice is not amazing but it’s typical of the total ineptitude of this Government and its handling of this pandemic.

“But I am overjoyed and so are my clients, my phone has been hot, hot, hot.

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 9, 2020
Coronavirus – Thu Jul 9, 2020

“I have booked in a facial treatment tomorrow morning already and I have got lots more coming in the next week that I couldn’t do previously.”

The lockdown restrictions were due to be eased on August 1, but a spike in coronavirus cases at the time resulted in them being paused for two weeks.

The reopening comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that fines for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask could soar to £3,200 and organisers of illegal raves could face a £10,000 penalty.

At present, people who refuse to wear a face covering where it is required face a £100 fine, which can be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, but under the new measures, that penalty will double for subsequent offences, up to a maximum of £3,200.

A clampdown on illegal gatherings of more than 30 people could see those responsible hit with spot fines of up to £10,000, a No 10 source indicated.

Meanwhile, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps denied suggestions that decisions to ease lockdown restrictions were taken primarily for economic rather than epidemiological reasons.

POLITICS Coronavirus
POLITICS Coronavirus

Mr Shapps had been asked about the comments of Professor John Edmunds, a member of Sage, who said the situation over the last few weeks had not changed very much from a “scientific point of view”.

Prof Edmunds had said: “I don’t think it’s really been taken on epidemiological grounds, I think it’s really been taken primarily for economic reasons and there’s of course extremely good reasons for doing that.”

Asked if the decision was taken for economic reasons, Mr Shapps responded: “No, we’ve measured this based on what the Office for National Statistics say about it and they’d expressed concerns about a slight increase in England’s test positives.

“And you’ll recall that we put on hold the measures which, as you mention, are now coming into place. They’ve now suggested that that situation has levelled off.”

Grosvenor and Genting casinos both said they were looking forward to opening the majority of their casinos.

A Genting spokesman said it will be limiting numbers at all its venues to ensure social distancing can be maintained, visors and masks will be available for staff and customers, and more than 400 hand sanitiser stations had been installed at its casinos.

He added: “This is what we have been building towards for some time now, and the delays we have experienced have of course been hugely frustrating and damaging to the business.

“The reopening is therefore incredibly exciting for all involved and we cannot wait to welcome customers back into our casinos.”

Grosvenor Casinos, which has a portfolio of 52 casinos across the UK, said it was reopening 35 in England.

It said its coronavirus safety measures include a capacity cap, voluntary PPE and face coverings for guests and staff, hand sanitiser stations, and screens available on gaming tables and machines.

Jonathon Swaine, managing director at Grosvenor Casinos, said: “While it has been a hugely challenging time for the industry, the health and safety of our customers and team has always been our top priority.

“We’ve been ready to reopen safely for a number of weeks and we are delighted we can now finally welcome back our customers to enjoy our casinos safely once more.”

Hollywood Bowl said that 48 of its 61 centres were reopening on Saturday, with each operating with reduced numbers of lanes, reduced customer capacity, and groups restricted to a maximum of six people.

WE’RE REOPENING! 🎳🎉 We are delighted to be opening our English centres from midday Saturday 15th August, and you can now BOOK ONLINE!We’re so excited to welcome you back to ‘Have Fun and Play Safe’, so pre-book online and let the good times roll! 🤩

— Hollywood Bowl (@HollywoodBowlUK) August 14, 2020

Its chief executive Stephen Burns said the company had been ready to reopen for many weeks and was excited to welcome customers back.

He added: “We’ve been ready to reopen in the fully Government-approved Covid-secure way for many weeks and our trained teams are eager to get back to work.

“Our centres are spacious and well-suited for social distancing, and we’ve put in place wide-ranging hygiene and sanitisation measures.”