When can soft play areas open? Dates for England and rest of the UK

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  • As further lockdown lifting is announced, you may be wondering when can soft play areas open…

    It’s good news for parents and children across the country as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed the return of indoor kid’s play centres.

    Families enjoyed a taste of ‘normality’ when kids went back to school after lockdown and enjoyed the re-opening of swimming pools in April. And now patient pre-schoolers can look forward to some ball pit fun in the month of May thanks to easing measures under the government’s lockdown roadmap.

    We reveal the all-important dates and the safety measures you can expect when their doors re-open soon.


    When can soft play areas open in England?

    Soft play centres will reopen on Monday 17 May 2021. This re-opening date was confirmed by Boris Johnson in a press conference a week prior.

    The Prime Minister first announced his intention for indoor play areas to re-open in his roadmap out of lockdown strategy on 22 February.

    Small boy going down a slide at a soft play area when it reopen

    Credit: Getty

    Under Stage 3 of the roadmap, which was to come into effect no earlier than 17 May, Boris said: “Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will reopen.”

    After a government review this month, the Prime Minister declared that Stage 3 proceedings would indeed come into effect from the third week of May.

    As part of the re-opening, it is expected that soft play centres will continue to carry out deep sanitation steps and follow existing covid-19 safety protocol. This way parents can watch their child play, safe in the knowledge that health measures are being followed.

    Based on the rules followed when they last re-opened after lockdown, play centres are thought to re-open with a reduced numbers of visitors. With it mandatory for guests to pre-book their time slot online before turning up.

    Other likely measures include temperature checks on arrival, increased cleaning and hand sanitiser stations. Plus, visitors over the age of 11 will have to continue to wear face masks and can practice social distancing at their discretion.

    Multi coloured balls and yellow slide

    Credit: Getty

    When can soft play areas open in Wales?

    Children’s soft play centres will reopen on May 17 in Wales.

    Much like England’s lockdown lifting, Wales can look forward to indoor hospitality, cinemas and museums re-opening on this date too.

    Covid safety guidelines are also expected to be in place when the soft play centres are open. If in doubt, be sure to check your local indoor play area’s website or call ahead of your visit.


    When can soft play areas open in Scotland?

    Scotland has lifted restrictions recently, but we’re waiting on confirmation on when soft play areas will reopen.

    Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to answer this question (and share additional restriction easing measures) in a press conference today though. So watch this space.

    Pubs, restaurants, cafes shops, swimming pools and gyms have now all reopened in Scotland, following a harsh four-month lockdown across the country.

    Soft play areas have been closed since the first lockdown in March 2020. Upon reopening, spaces will be enforcing social distancing and have to have capacity constraints in all venues.

    When can soft play areas reopen in Northern Ireland?

    A provisional date of 24 May has been given with regards to the re-opening of soft play areas in Northern Ireland. So at present, play centres remain closed.

    The roadmap out of lockdown in Northern Ireland works under review dates, rather than set dates for lifting restrictions. So, soft play area could reopen again after the next review on May 13.

    Since the last review on April 15, all pupils have now returned to school and the ‘stay at home’ message has been replaced with ‘stay local’.