On August 13, PM Boris Johnson announced the latest series of lockdown-easing measures, much to the delight of business owners and customers across England.
The announcement of whether soft play centres would be reopening also came into the discussion, as almost all indoor play centres have been closed since March – although outdoor playgrounds did reopen last month.
The prime minister’s announcement comes after he allowed the reopening of gyms, swimming pools and spas earlier in July. But most recently, he delayed lifting lockdown measures again due to a spike in cases around the UK which led to some areas like Leicester and Greater Manchester going into a local lockdown.
But now it looks as though some businesses and services are finally allowed to open back up again, with soft play areas finally being given a solid answer as to whether they are able to reopen once again.
When will soft play areas reopen?
After months of closures, you’re probably wondering ‘When will soft play areas reopen?’. Indoor play areas and soft play centres are now open again and have been from Saturday August 15, following the briefing on August 13.
Previously to this announcement, which came as a great relief to many soft play centres, there were protests against the lack of information given to soft play centres and campaigns for a reopening date were launched. There was even a petition launched which urged the government to save the indoor play industry.
The prime minister said that he believed the plans to lift lockdown measures, which were delayed from August 1, would “allow more people to return to work and the public to get back more of the things they have missed”. However, he did repeat the warning previously given by the government that they would not “hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus”.
The minister for sport, tourism and heritage, Nigel Huddleston, also followed the announcement up on Twitter. He said, “Thanks to everyone’s hard work to control the virus we can now reopen more @dcms sectors safely” from August 15.
In the same briefing, it was also revealed that these venues could also open:
- Indoor theatre, music and performance venues (with social distancing)
- Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks
- Business conference venues
Wedding receptions up to 30 people will also now be allowed to take place and “close contact” beauty services such as facials, eyebrow threading, eyelaash treatments, make up application and microblading will be able to resume.
However, France was one of the popular holiday destinations taken off the travel quarantine list, following a rise in cases in the country.
Soft play and indoor play areas arguably operate on a similar basis to these venues, with customers making close contact with others and using the same equipment. So it makes sense to assume that soft play centres reopening would happen around the same time.
What safety measures will be in place when soft play centres have reopened?
Just like with other closer contact venues reopening following the pandemic, indoor play areas will likely have to stick to strict social distancing and hygiene protocols whenever they do open up again.
This could well include:
- Regular cleaning of equipment
- Reduced numbers of people/children allowed inside at one time
- Masks for waiting parents
- Contactless payments
- Booking ahead of time via an app or website
- One-way system around the soft play areas
These are similar measures to restaurants, which reopened back in July. However, some Pizza Express restaurants will be closing down.
Soft play near me to rent
Before the reopening was announced, in lieu of being able to welcome customers in, parents have instead been turning to soft play rental businesses and hiring out their equipment to keep the kids entertained instead.
There appear to be plenty of soft play hires around, with many noting that they are now offering contact free delivery of the equipment, with a thorough cleaning taking place before and after each usage too.
It could still be a useful option if you’re searching for ways to occupy your little’uns throughout the summer!