Recently Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the latest series of lockdown-easing measures, much to the delight of business owners and customers across England.
But one thing seems to be noticably missing off of the list of venues set to reopen in July.
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.
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.
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.
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!