United Kingdom

Casinos, bowling alleys, theatres, gig venues and wedding receptions can reopen from today

Casinos, bowling alleys, theatres, gig venues and wedding receptions can reopen from today, and unpampered Britons can finally get their facials. 

Businesses have said they are 'delighted' to be welcoming customers back through their doors as part of the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

It follows the Prime Minister announcing 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.

A casino staff member wipes the surfaces at The Rialto casino in London yesterday as enhanced safety and cleaning measures are put in place in preparation for reopening

Casino staff listen to a briefing at The Rialto casino yesterday in London. The entertainment venues are preparing to reopen for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown

Casinos and bowling alleys are among the venues now allowed to reopen under the latest guidance.

Socially distanced audiences are also now allowed back into theatres and other indoor venues, while wedding receptions of up to 30 people will be permitted.

The move to allow indoor performances follows a 'successful series of pilots', Downing Street said.

Tattoo studios, beauty salons, spas and hairdressers can now offer additional services, including front-of-face treatments such as eyebrow threading.

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

Many in the beauty industry expressed disappointment at the delay when it was announced.

Alice Bellamy, 67, 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.

Punters line up outside The Rialto casino in London last night. Restrictions were due to be eased on August 1, but a spike in cases at the time resulted in a pause for two weeks

A social distancing notice is seen on the ground at The Rialto casino. Grosvenor and Genting casinos both said they were looking forward to opening the majority of their casinos

She 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.

'I have booked in a facial treatment on Saturday morning already and I have got lots more coming in the next week that I couldn't do previously.'

The easing of the restrictions come after Boris Johnson announced tougher fines for people repeatedly not wearing a mask.

At present, people who refuse to wear a face covering where it is required, without having an exemption, 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.

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

Casino staff sanitise their hands at a roulette table at The Rialto casino in London. Casinos and bowling alleys are among the venues now allowed to reopen under the latest guidance

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.

Casino staff play a game of Blackjack at The Rialto casino yesterday, where enhanced safety and cleaning measures have been introduced as lockdown measures are eased

A casino staff member sits at a roulette table in front of a bottle of hand sanitiser at The Rialto casino. Safety measures include a capacity cap, voluntary PPE and face coverings

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.

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.'

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