What lockdown rules are easing this weekend? Latest update as theatres, bowling alleys and performance venues to reopen

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Several restrictions will be relaxed in England from Saturday (15 August), inclduing rules for beauty salons, theatres, bowling alleys and wedding receptions

Further easing of lockdown rules will take effect in England this weekend, with theatres, bowling alleys and casinos among the venues that will be allowed to reopen.

Restrictions will also be eased for wedding receptions, beauty salons, spas and tattoo studios, as the government resumes its relaxation of restrictions.

Here are all the changes you need to know.

Further easing of lockdown rules will take effect in England from 15 AugustFurther easing of lockdown rules will take effect in England from 15 August
Further easing of lockdown rules will take effect in England from 15 August

Can I go to the theatre?

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From Saturday (15 August), audiences will be allowed to return to indoor theatres and music venues in England, providing social distancing is observed.

New guidance states that such venues will be required to operate at a reduced capacity and ticket sales should be limited to ensure distancing can be maintained inside.

Those on stage will also have to adhere to social distancing rules, and delays between performances are expected as venues are required to undertake a deep cleaning before the next audience arrives.

The move to allow theatre venues to reopen sees the government advance to stage four of its plan for the phased return of live shows, which allows for performances both indoors and outdoors with a limited capacity audience.

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Stage five, which is the final step of the plan, would see performances allowed both indoors and outdoors with fuller crowds.

What about sports venues?

The government will also resume plans to pilot a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of larger crowds, beginning with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre at the weekend.

If venues are able to successfully keep fans socially distanced, sports arenas could reopen to supporters from 1 October.

What are the rules for weddings?

From Saturday (15 August), wedding receptions with up to 30 guests will be allowed again.

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However, this will only be permitted in the form of a sit-down meal in a location that adheres to Covid-19 secure guidelines, with the government stating the reception should be kept “as short as reasonably possible”.

Seating arrangements should follow social distancing guidance, meaning at most two households are seated together, with outdoor table service preferred if possible.

Guidance states that activities such as cake cutting should involve as few guests as possible, while the throwing of confetti or a bouquet should be avoided.

Speeches should also be given outside or in well ventilated areas, with guidance advising that neither the speaker or any observers raise their voices, to avoid the risk of aerosol transmission.

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What rules will change for beauty salons, hairdressers and spas?

Beauty salons, hairdressers, spas and tattoo studios will all be allowed to offer additional services from Saturday (15 August).

This will include front of face treatments, including eyebrow threading.

However, workplaces must still remain Covid-19 secure, with regular cleaning and hand washing taking place.

What else will reopen?

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Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys and indoor play areas will also be allowed to reopen to customers on Saturday (15 August), for the first time since lockdown was imposed almost five months ago.

The news has been welcomed by the Betting and Gaming Council in England, but it has urged Scotland and Wales to follow suit, claiming that many casinos “are on the brink” of permanent closure.

Nightclubs, dance halls and sexual entertainment venues will all continue to remain closed.

The latest easing of restrictions comes a fortnight later than was originally planned, with rules initially due to be eased on 1 August. However, plans were forced to be delayed following a spike in coronavirus cases.

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