England and Scotland have become the most recent countries to announce their spas will reopen, following a hard-fought campaign by industry associations, operators and the media.
Spas will be permitted to reopen from Monday 13 July in England, with pools having a deadline of 25 July. Spas will reopen in Scotland on 22 July.
The moves follow an intense ten-day period of lobbying by the UK Spa Association (UKSA), led by GM, Helena Grzesk, and chair, Adam Chatterley.
The reopening announcement for England was made today (9 July) by UK culture minister, Oliver Dowden, in a special government press conference, which saw large swathes of the leisure industry freed from lockdown, including outdoor arts and culture, opera and theatre and recreational sport.
Nail bars and beauty salons will also be permitted to reopen. Gyms and health clubs will follow on 25 July.
In Scotland, first minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced the reopening date to the Scottish Parliament, explaining that spa and beauty salon reopening – as with England – will be dependent on strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
The UK spa sector has been lobbying for months, but it seemed these efforts were falling on deaf ears until an unfortunate exchange
in Parliament when prime minister, Boris Johnson, mocked the spa and beauty industry, triggering indignation and anger which galvanised industry stakeholders and took the lobbying up a gear.
UKSA, industry media and key operators joined forces to lobby MPs and the various government departments involved, with the breakthrough coming this week.
The sector had feared being pushed to the back of the queue for reopening and analysts predicted this could lead to up to 30 per cent of businesses failing.
As a result, the decision to reopen has been warmly welcomed and a huge relief.
Spas in the Republic of Ireland
reopened on 6 July, while spas in Wales are still awaiting an opening date, with insiders suggesting this could come as early as tomorrow.