How travel, going the gym, eating out, workplaces, holidays and football could be adapted when lockdown is lifted

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We’re now heading into week seven of lockdown and talk of how restrictions could be lifted is increasing.

The Government put the rules in place on Monday, March 23, for an initial three weeks, but it is likely to be Thursday, May 7, before we find out the next steps, with a “road map” to be discussed on Sunday, May 10.

As we all consider what hurdles we will have to overcome as we’re allowed to leave home for anything other than a short walk, run or cycle, to get essential shopping or to go to work if we cannot do our jobs from home, here’s a rundown of suggestions which have been put forward as efforts continue to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus, while allowing the country’s economy restart.


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Visiting the gym, barber, airport and playing sports are set to be different once the lockdown is relaxed.Visiting the gym, barber, airport and playing sports are set to be different once the lockdown is relaxed.
Visiting the gym, barber, airport and playing sports are set to be different once the lockdown is relaxed.

Today, Monday, May 4, a draft document by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has laid out a host of measures being proposed by the Government department with the aim of getting people back to work.

These include reducing hotdesking, so people don’t share a workspace as much, closing off access to lifts in office buildings and no canteen access for now, while tape could be used as it has in supermarket queues to keep people spaced out.

Extra cleaning could be introduced to office spaces and using protective equipment should be considered where it is not possible to sustain social distancing.

Those who deal with customers face-to-face could have plastic screens set up to protect them and staggered shifts encouraged.

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One way systems in workplaces could also help people avoid contact.

It has also been suggested companies may have to draw up a COVID-19 risk assessment before allowing staff to return to work, while the 2m rule will still need to be maintained on shop floors, in queues and in communal spaces.

Eating out, hotel stays and attractions

The delight of not cooking your own meal will be a welcome treat once again in times to come, even if the chance to grab a Greggs will have to wait after its plans to reopen select stores in its native North East were put on hold.

It's likely restaurants and cafes are will need to space people out, which means it will be harder to find somewhere to eat, while delivery services will continue to be popular.

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One idea is to ask customers to order online before they head in to the restaurant for their meal.

Takeaway chains such as KFC, Pret A Manger and Burger King have begun to open a few branches, with strict safety and social distancing measures in place, as well as restrictions on the number of customers allowed in a one time.

An inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism is looking at how each of those industries could reopen.

Cinemas could test customers temperature, while leaving seats empty has also been floated as an idea.

Going to the gym

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Companies such as PureGym have said they are looking at what measures are needed to keep visitors safe, with upgraded hygiene and sanitation regimes to be brought in.

It has said it will put its plans to the test with around six sites, then open more when the firm is sure its efforts are working.

Virgin Active has said it will inform customers when they will reopen clubs “once it is safe to do so based on government advice”.

Gym members could also be asked to perform frequent hand-washing during visits.

Return of sports

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Some have already began to adapt, with the Tennis Point Exhibition Series held in Germany last week staged with no ball boys, spectators or television cameras.

Facemasks were worn by everyone except for the players and chair umpire, with disinfectant placed at the door and walkways mapped out in what is thought to have been the first live sport held since Irish horseracing was last hosted on Tuesday, March 24.

The British Horse Racing Association’s chief executive Nick Rust has said the sport could return in a week from the point the Government allows it, with later this month suggested by some.

However, it would still be behind closed doors, with bets likely to be placed online for now, with the bookies still shut under the restrictions.

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When football returns, it’s also likely to be behind closed doors for a number of months, with how fans will get to see matches still to be arranged.

Clubs, including Sunderland AFC, have already talked about how it is looking at measures.

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FA chairman Greg Clarke said in a letter to councils on Friday, May 1: “The reality is that we just don’t know how things are going to pan out, but with social distancing in place for some time to come we do face substantial changes to the whole football ecosystem.

“For example, it’s hard to foresee crowds of fans – who are the lifeblood of the game – returning to matches any time soon.”

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He said further details would be shared at a meeting on Thursday, May 21.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has put together a host of answers on its site, but how games will be played or if they will be televised is yet to be made clear.

Travel home and abroad

Rail operators are looking at how people can be kept two metres apart, with timetables to continue to run at reduced rates.

Before a global vaccine can be created, a host of suggestions have been made which could allow people to head off on their holidays – even if when that will be is still an unknown.

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Some airports have already put in place a number of measures, such as social distancing, hand sanitiser and spacing people out across terminals, while the use of electronic check-in desks is being encouraged.

There’s a chance passengers and crew will be asked to wear masks, while it has been said airlines will be carrying out extra cleaning on board.

The idea that the middle seat could be left empty has been suggested, but operators including Ryanair ruling it out, saying it would be ineffective and unaffordable.

It has been reported that in the US, passengers have been told to wash their hands before and after their security check.

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At Hong Kong International Airport a device which delivers a full-body disinfectant is being put to the test, using a spray which kills bacteria and viruses on the body and clothes in a 40-second treatment.

The Emirates airline has offered passengers rapid coronavirus blood test before prior to boarding at Dubai airport terminals, delivering its result within 10 minutes.

The Government’s advice on the situation for each country can be found here, with email alerts available to give you the latest news.

Once on holiday, resorts could look at spacing out tables, while buffets are likely to be avoided, with pools, bars and beaches also likely to cause concern.

Help with your hair

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Even if you’ve managed to do well with a DIY dye or a tidy up trim, this is one best left to the experts unless it’s just a little snip needed.

There have been some claims it could be six months before salons and barbers are allowed to reopen to customers, although it is hard to find anyone from the Government saying this on the record.

The latest thinking is there could be a traffic light system brought in to help smaller business, like hairdressers, can reopen.

Countries that have begun to ease their lockdowns, such as Denmark, have permitted hairdressers to open in the first phase.

Worship and services

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While the number of people allowed to attend a funeral service at the moment varies, what will happen after the lockdown is still to be confirmed.

Churches – which have made efforts to live stream services – have said they could limit the number of people allowed into a place of workship, while they may hold off on hymns to prevent spreading the virus.

Priests could also be told to keep two metres from people when they offer blessings and a new way to hand over rings used.

Worshippers at mosques may also be asked to wear face masks and bring their own rugs to prayers to minimise the risk of infection.

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