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Coronavirus: Pools, gyms, team sport and outdoor gigs to return

Lifeguard at Brockwell Lido

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Pools, gyms and sports facilities will be able to reopen and team sports and outdoor gigs resume in England, the government has announced.

Outdoor pools and performances can resume from Saturday with social distancing in place, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said.

Beauticians, nail salons and tattooists can also reopen from Monday, he said.

Indoor gyms, sports facilities and pools will be able to reopen from 25 July.

Guidance will be published for team sports to return from Saturday.

A further 85 deaths have been announced for the 24 hours up to 17:00 BST on 8 July, taking the UK coronavirus deaths total to 44,602.

Speaking at the televised Downing Street press conference, Mr Dowden said normal life was “slowly returning” and that it was an important milestone for the country’s performers and artists, who had been “waiting in the wings since March”.

Mr Dowden said the public should “do their bit” by buying tickets and supporting galleries and other venues.

“I’m really urging people to get out there and to play their part: buy the tickets for outdoor plays and musical recitals, get to your local gallery and support your local businesses,” he said.

But the culture secretary said: “All of these measures are conditional and are reversible”, and warned the government wouldn’t hesitate to impose more local lockdowns if cases started to spike.

Guidance for the reopening of sports facilities, has been published, including cleaning regimes, social distancing and protection for staff.

Measures include limiting the number of people using a facility at one time, reducing class sizes and spacing out equipment.

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Media captionDowden: ‘We need to get the nation match fit to defeat this disease’

Small numbers of supporters will be able to watch outdoor sports, provided social distancing measures are followed.

The government said a team led by deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam had been visiting sports sites to see the sector’s preparations to reopen safely.

Mr Dowden said face coverings would not be mandatory in gyms.

Beauticians, tattooists and tanning salons will be allowed to reopen from Monday but there will still be restrictions would remain on “particularly high-risk services”, he said.

When put to him that the restrictions involved in reopening gyms and swimming pools would make exercise “less fun”, Mr Dowden said people would get used to the new measures.

He said: “The judgment we’ve taken with this [pubs] and swimming pools and elsewhere is it is better to reopen with those restrictions than not reopen at all.”

Mr Dowden said “all the data” was continuing to “move in the right direction” despite the reopening of pubs and restaurants last weekend.

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