When are soft play centres reopening?

The family favourite venues have been closed since March as a result of the pandemic...
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Recently Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the latest series of lockdown-easing measures, much to the delight of business owners and customers across England.

    He revealed that later this month, gyms and swimming pools will be reopening, and spas and beauty salons are now once again be able to welcome customers.

    But one thing seems to be noticably missing off of the list of venues set to reopen in July.

    MORE: Can grandparents see their grandchildren now Рand can they hug them?

    For months soft play areas and indoor play areas have been closed in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus – so when will they get to reopen?

    When will soft play areas reopen?

    After weeks of closures, you’re probably wondering ‘When will soft play areas reopen?’. Indoor play areas and soft play centres are not currently open – and sadly, it is unclear when they will open again.

    Almost all indoor play venues have been closed down since March, when the lockdown began – although outdoor playgrounds have recently reopened.

    Soft play centres were not mentioned in the government’s latest announcement, and therefore have not yet been given a date for reopening.

    And many within the indoor play area industry have even been protesting against the lack of information, and campaigning for a reopening date to be announced.

    There is a petition circulating urging the government to save the indoor play industry – which you can sign here.

    For a clue about when indoor play areas might reopen, it’s worth noting that yesterday, the government announced that some similar venues were permitted to reopen in England from 25th July.

    When will soft play centres open?

    Credit: Getty Images

    On 25th July, these venues can reopen:

    • sports facilities and venues, including such as indoor gyms
    • fitness and dance studios
    • indoor swimming pools
    • indoor water parks

    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 could happen around the same time.

    MORE: Are playgrounds and play parks open again?

    In fact, one soft play business, Play Planet Soft Play, based in Dunfermline, Scotland, revealed¬†on their Facebook page that while they cannot open as soon as they’d hoped – on 15th July – there are hopes that further announcements will be made near the end of July.

    In a recent announcement on lockdown measures in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon explained that some indoor venues will not reopen before 23rd July – and it seems that soft play areas are likely to be included in this. So similar could follow in other parts of the UK.

    What safety measures will be in place when soft play centres are reopening?

    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 have recently reopened. However, some Pizza Express restaurants will be closing down.

    Soft play near me to rent

    In lieu of being being able to welcome customers in during the lockdown, parents have instead been turning to soft play rental businesses, hiring out their equipment to keep the kids entertained instead.

    MORE: Soft play hell: 14 traumatic questions every mum will ask

    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 be a useful option if you’re searching for ways to occupy your little’uns throughout the summer!