Tired of lockdown haircuts and home workouts? Here’s some good news for you: gyms, hairdressers and salons can soon reopen in England. While the exact dates are subject to change, here’s everything we currently know about the prime minister’s roadmap for loosening restrictions.
What is the four-step roadmap?
The four-step roadmap is basically England’s route to freedom from lockdown. It’s designed to open the economy without risking a surge in infections which would put us all back into a strict lockdown again. The steps are:
- Step 1: Rule of six outdoors, local travel permitted
- Step 2: Non-essential retail, fitness and personal care reopened
- Step 3: Rule of six indoors
- Step 4: Social contact limits removed
While this is great news, there’s no guarantee we’ll move quickly through the steps. We can’t progress from one step to another unless we meet the government’s four tests:
- The vaccine plan is moving at pace
- There’s evidence to show that vaccines slow transmission and prevent serious disease
- We aren’t seeing high infection rates and increased hospital admissions
- No new variants emerge that show resistance to the vaccines
When will gyms and hairdressers reopen?
In England, salons, swimming pools, gyms and hairdressers can reopen from 12 April 2021, as part of ‘step two’ on the route out of coronavirus restrictions.
- You’ll still need to follow social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings as before.
- There may be caps on capacity within salons and fitness centres.
- Group exercise indoors is still off-limits until 17 May 2021 at the earliest.
What about the rest of the UK?
While these dates only apply to England, it’s hoped that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow similar timetables. It all depends on local infection rates and hospital pressure.
Will I need a Covid-19 vaccine to visit the gym or hair salon?
Not as far as we’re aware. The health secretary ruled out so-called ‘domestic’ vaccine passports earlier this month.
That said, there’s always a chance the position will change, but there’s no indication you’ll need a Covid-19 vaccine to visit the salon, gym or hairdresser in April. As mentioned, strict social distancing measures will still be in place.
What else opens in April?
It’s not just gyms and hairdressers that will reopen for business in April. Here’s what else you have to look forward to in England:
- Non-essential shops will reopen
- You’ll be able to visit outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks
- Pubs and restaurants will begin serving outdoors (no curfew this time)
- Up to 15 people will be able to attend weddings
You should still work from home where possible, though, and you can’t travel abroad unless there’s an essential need. It’s still important to avoid indoor mixing between households, too.
When do the restrictions end?
While there’s no firm guarantee, the UK government hopes to ease most if not all social distancing measures by 21 June 2021. However, it’s far too early to say whether this will happen. It all depends on infection rates, vaccine uptake and hospital pressure.
What do the changes mean for me?
From a financial perspective, here are some tips to help you make the most of shops, salons, gyms and hairdressers reopening:
- If you froze your gym membership, make sure you can still afford it before you unfreeze your account. For some, home workouts might still be preferable and more cost-effective.
- Excited to start going out again? Remember to spend wisely – resist the urge to impulse spend just because you’re in a shop again!
- For those of you planning to go abroad when travel restrictions ease, check out some of the travel credit cards on offer to help you manage your travel money.
- If you’re eligible and need financial support, check out the fourth SEISS grant when it becomes available.
- Use the next month or so to save money and build up some emergency cash, just in case we lock down again.
With spring on its way, there’s a real sense of hope in the air now. We could finally be on a road out of the pandemic. But remember, just because gyms and hairdressers are reopening doesn’t mean you need to rush out! Take your time and move at a pace that suits you.
And before you start spending again, remember to set a budget and always keep an eye on your finances.
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