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Pools, gyms and outdoor arts performances to return in latest lockdown easing

Pools, gyms and outdoor arts performances to return in latest lockdown easing
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The FA is working to submit a comprehensive action plan for Government approval so that grassroots team sports can return.

Swimming pools, gyms and outdoor arts performances are to begin reopening in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said outdoor pools will be able to reopen from Saturday to be followed by indoor pools, gyms and other sports facilities from July 25.

Theatres, opera, dance and music will also be able to resume outdoors from the weekend although audience numbers will be restricted and will be subject to social-distancing rules.

Following the opening for hairdressers last week, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services will be able to welcome back customers from Monday.

At the same time the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also published guidance to enable competitive grassroots team sports to resume, beginning with cricket at the weekend.

Mr Dowden told a Downing Street press conference: "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.

"Our fight began with a collective effort and I really hope it will end with one.

"At the beginning we all stayed at home to protect the NHS and save lives now the British public has a new part to play.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/PA)

"It's time to eat out to help out, to enjoy the arts to help out and to work out to help out. It's over to all of you to help the country recover safely."

The Football Association said it is working to submit a comprehensive action plan for Government approval so that grassroots team sports can return.

The governing body said: "We welcome the announcement and publication of the Government's return to recreational sport framework today, which means we can look forward to the safe return of competitive grassroots football.

"We are now working to submit a comprehensive action plan and related guidance for Government approval as outlined in DCMS's publication.

"Once approved, we will publish new guidance for the grassroots football community. We will confirm timings as soon as we are able.

"In the meantime, competitive grassroots football can prepare to return and look forward to the start of the new season.

"Please continue to refer to the latest guidance documents for adult players, coaches, facility operators, parents and carers involved in restarting grassroots football activity – which came into effect from 4 July – until a further update is provided, in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19.

"Please also note that guidance is being developed for clubs with teams competing in the National League System (NLS) and will be shared with those clubs directly in due course."

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