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Everything you need to know about gyms, swimming pools and beauty salons reopening

Here’s what you need to know…

Alex Watson

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The government has announced that leisure facilities and beauty services in England will be allowed to reopen this month.

The latest updates to lockdown restrictions include the reopening of gyms, swimming pools and the much-anticipated beauticians. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said ‘normal life is slowly returning’ at the Downing Street news conference last night.

He said: “Having allowed hairdressers to reopen, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can now do the same, I’m pleased to say, from Monday.

“Of course that will be subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services.” 

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Gyms can also now reopen and people will not be expected to wear face coverings. While changing rooms will be open where possible, people are encouraged to shower and change at home. 

Other measures will include limiting the number of people that can use a facility at any one time, reducing the size of classes and spacing out the equipment – there will also be strict cleaning procedures in place.

Regarding sports, club cricket can return this Saturday with limited numbers of spectators. Guidance has been published for competitive grassroots team sports to resume, but each sport will have to submit an action plan to the government.

People can attend an outdoors sports event in small numbers, providing they are in groups of no more than two households or no more than six people, while adhering to social distancing measures. 

At the Downing Street briefing, Mr Dowden said: “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.

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“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. 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.”

Beauticians can reopen but not all beauty treatments will be able to go ahead. For instance, face waxing, sugaring or threading services, facial treatments, make-up applications and eyebrow treatments are all deemed too high-risk. Beard trimming is allowed, however. 

The full list of treatments that still aren’t allowed:

  • Face waxing, sugaring or threading services
  • Facial treatments
  • Advanced facial technical (electrical or mechanical)
  • Eyelash treatments
  • Make-up application
  • Dermarolling
  • Dermaplaning
  • Microblading
  • Electrolysis on the face
  • Eyebrow treatments
  • Intricate detailing, outlining or shaving of beards
  • Advanced beauty therapy and aesthetic treatments
Lucas Lenzi/Unsplash

The businesses that can now reopen include: 

  • Outdoor pools and outdoor theatres from July 11th
  • Grassroots sports from July 11th
  • Beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons from July 13th (subject to restrictions)
  • Indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools and sports facilities from July 25th.
  • Singing and playing brass and wind instruments will be allowed in professional environments
  • Small indoor performances with socially distanced audience can be piloted 

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You should wear masks and avoid kissing during sex to stop spread of coronavirus, experts say

Strictly no kissing!

Alex Watson

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A sexual health charity has published advice on sex in a pandemic, and it includes avoiding kissing, wearing face masks and not using face to face positions.

Terrence Higgins Trust has said that 84% of people have abstained from having sex with a partner they don’t live with throughout the lockdown, but the charity urges officials that this is no longer realistic.

Asking people to refrain from sex completely is no longer realistic now there has been easing of the lockdown measures. 

The charity said we need to find a way ‘to balance our need for sex and intimacy with the risks of the spread of Covid-19’. 

The charity’s advice is simple, the best sexual partner during a pandemic is either yourself or a partner you already live with. 

The advice explains that masturbation, sex toys, phone sex or online sex are all great and safe alternatives. 

If you are having sex with someone you don’t live with, the charity suggests limiting the number of sexual partners. It also provides a list of other precautions you should take, and some might seem a bit unusual at first.

First up, like anything these days, before and after sex you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds. Nothing gets you in the mood quite like lathering up your hands as you hum Happy Birthday twice over!

Next, the advice states to avoid kissing, to wear a face mask during intercourse and to pick positions that are not face to face – get creative! 

The charity also warns that the virus can be found in some bodily fluids, so ensure you are wearing condoms and dams for oral sex. 

Other advice has even gone one step further, and suggested using physical barriers like glory holes that prevent face-to-face contact but allow sexual contact. 

Dr Michael Brady, the charity’s medical director, said: “We’re clear that abstaining from sex is the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus, but we hope by issuing this advice we will help people to manage the risks of Covid-19 while also being able to have and enjoy sex.”

The charity also stresses the importance of practising good sexual health beyond the pandemic, including getting tested before becoming sexually active again.

Find out more about how to minimise the risk of Covid-19 while having sex here, including how to get tested for STIs and HIV

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Jet2 plane circles Greater Manchester after people report hearing ‘loud bang’

JUST IN.

Alex Watson

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Dark_Snipers117/Twitter

A plane was spotted circling the skies above Greater Manchester this afternoon, with witnesses reporting that they heard a ‘loud bang’.

The Manchester Evening News reports that a Jet2 Boeing 757 took off from Manchester Airport, but ended up circling the skies above Greater Manchester – as seen on online flight trackers.

According to the MEN, the flight has now landed safely back down at Manchester Airport.

A Twitter user said: “I saw the plane as it flew overhead. Following the noises, it stopped climbing and banked left. Looks to be trying to return to the Airport. Fingers/eyes/toes crossed that everyone & everything is okay x”.

Others reported they heard a ‘loud bang’ that could have been an ‘engine backfiring’. 

One user wrote: “That was scary to hear and witness flames coming out of the right engine! Never heard anything like it before living under flight path”.

Some reports on Twitter suggest the noise could’ve been a bird strike. 

The latest update from the MEN says the plane was on a test flight, with the airline set to issue an official statement shortly.

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The ‘best meteor shower of the year’ will be visible over the UK this week

This will be amazing!

Alex Watson

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Michael Mancewicz/Unsplash

The Perseid meteors are active between mid-July and the end of August, and this year they will be reaching their peak this week. 

There is set to be as many as 50 to 100 comets flying across the sky each hour, as part of the spectacle this week.

To get the best glimpse of the meteor shower, you’re gonna have to stay up late. The Royal Observatory advises that The Perseids will be most visible between midnight and 5:30am.

The meteors will be flying across the skies on the nights of August 11th and 12th, meaning you can get a glimpse as early as tomorrow evening!

Nick Iliasov/Unsplash

According to the Royal Observatory: “[The shower] is always above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets.

“Therefore, it is worth looking up in the early evening.

“It is always favourable to try and spot meteors when the Moon is below the horizon or when it is in its crescent phase, because otherwise it will act as a natural light pollution and will prevent the fainter meteors from being visible.”

Clint McKoy/Unsplash

Many stargazers wait all year for this extra special meteor shower due to the rate and brightness of the meteors.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused as the Earth moves through a stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has a huge 133-year orbit.

The particles hit the Earth at a super speed of 37 miles per second, burning and streaking across the sky.

It is possible to see some rare meteors just before midnight that graze the Earth’s atmosphere and produce the occasional bright long trail, called a ‘fireball’.

The Royal Observatory recommends heading to the countryside for the best view, and to ensure you’re in an area of clear skies.

Find out more about the Perseid meteor shower here

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