PM reopens bowling alleys and casinos but increases fines for lockdown breaches

13 August 2020, 22:32

The Prime Minister announced the latest easing of lockdown on Thursday
The Prime Minister announced the latest easing of lockdown on Thursday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will be allowed to reopen for the first time since lockdown began from Saturday – but fines will increase for those flouting the rules.

The Prime Minister announced on Thursday that leisure facilities, as well as indoor play and soft play centres which comply with new Covid-19 Secure guidelines, will be allowed to open on August 15.

Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas, barbers across England will also be able to offer all close contact services and treatments.

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But fines will double to a maximum of £3,200 for those who repeatedly flout face-covering rules, and new fines will be introduced for people hosting unlawful gatherings.

Fines for repeatedly not wearing face coverings where mandated will be significantly increased in the coming weeks, and on the spot fines for hosting or facilitating illegal gatherings of more than 30 people will be introduced.

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The relaxation of lockdown rules will not apply to areas where extra measures were introduced, including Greater Manchester.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent.

“That is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available to use against those who repeatedly flout the rules.

“At every stage I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional and that it relies on continued progress against the virus.

“Today, we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed. However, as I have always said, we will 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.”

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Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services – including front of the face treatments such as eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments and facials from August 15 under new guidance.

Wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure location for up to 30 guests will now be permitted.

Indoor theatres, music and performance venues will also be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences, following a series of pilots.

The piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from August 15 with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place from 1 October.

The first event will be the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre during 15-16 August, with a full pilot programme to follow.

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Taking into account new evidence provided by SAGE, the Government has also confirmed that all staff offering close contact services, including hairdressers, should now wear a type 2 surgical face mask as well as a clear visor that covers the face.

The Government said they will continue to review the measures announced today, and more detail on the new enforcement measures will be set out in the coming week.

Nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques, as well as sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars, remain closed in law.