The final wave in an ocean of post-lockdown confusion is the reopening of thermal facilities in spas. Despite many u-turns and further restrictions, the Government has just announced that spas can now, at last, fully reopen their remaining facilities which include saunas and steam rooms.
The facilities were originally set to reopen on August 15, but this was revoked by the Government when infection rates started increasing across England. Visitors were still able to visit spas but, depending on the individual venue, only the pools (indoor and outdoor), gyms and studios, hot tubs, and treatments were available.
It's welcome news not just for the spa industry as the facilities account for roughly 40 per cent of revenue, but also guests who see thermal facilities as an essential part of a spa day or break.
Abi Selby, founder of Spabreaks.com, is "immensely relieved" at the latest decision, which comes into effect immediately, and says: "There is a real demand for spa days and breaks as people seek a restorative break from the turbulence of the past six months.
"We've seen bookings reach 70 per cent of their pre-Covid-19 capacity, which will hopefully only increase with the remaining restrictions being lifted.
"Spa venues and therapists have been hard at work enhancing existing hygiene and customer safety procedures with additional measures to offer full customer confidence, with detailed protocols prepared for the safe reopening of venues."
The new rules for safely reopening the facilities will see capacity restricted to 50 per cent, and two-metre socially distancing rules in place helped by marked seating points in each room.
Guests should be able to book staggered slots for up to two people, and will be able to wander in and out of the facilities during this time.
As with other hygiene practices enforced in spas, the saunas, steam rooms and any other equipment involved should be cleaned regularly, at the beginning and end of the day, and at regular intervals in between.
"It’s a huge boost to hear that spas across the country can offer these experiences again," adds Selby.