MORE than 4,000 people have signed a petition set up by Reading’s Nirvana Spa for the government to allow spa and leisure facilities to reopen.
The popular spa in Mole Road, Sindlesham, is not allowed to reopen doors this week along with pubs, hairdressers, restaurants and parks.
The petition reads: “We firmly believe that the spa and leisure industry should be offered the opportunity to showcase safety measures to the task force responsible for informing the government.
“The government should consider following the approach taken by other countries and allow select facilities to open to facilitate a meaningful study of the risks and safety measures required.
“We feel very frustrated by the blanket approach applied to our sector of the hospitality industry which does not allow the spa and leisure industry which has a very diverse range of facilities to demonstrate their ability to provide a safe environment.
“Even before lockdown was imposed the leisure industry introduced significant measures to ensure that facilities could offer a COVID safe environment for customers and staff.
“On anticipation of a July 4 reopening, additional investments and measures were implemented.”
As of tomorrow (July 4), many businesses will be reopening doors after a three-month lockdown period.
But gyms, leisure facilities and theatres must remain closed.
On June 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a raft of changes to lockdown measures in England which will come in to force this Saturday.
He said the pandemic was “far from over”, but vowed “life is returning to our streets” as he announced families can be reunited, drinkers can enjoy a trip to the pub and people can go on holiday.
Social distancing will be cut from two metres to “one metre plus” and indoor gatherings involving two separate households will be permitted – including the possibility of staying overnight – but social distancing will need to be maintained, meaning no hugs with friends or relatives.
According to Nirvana Spa though, “the prolonged closure of the spa and leisure industry will have both economic and social implications.”
The petition says that prior to lockdown the spa industry was booming, with customers prepared to prioritise time and money for improving their physical and mental health.
It goes on to read: “Our own spa business had a turnover in excess of £20 million.
“Prolonged closure of the spa and leisure industry increases the risk of closure of facilities and significant loss of employment, our spa employs 480 people from the local area.
“The spa sector was growing and investment in enterprise projects which would have helped support the economy as we emerge from this crisis.
“Unfortunately many spa and leisure facilities are now depleting their cash reserves just to stay in business. Our spa was on the verge of a huge investment project to build a hotel which would have brought enterprise and jobs to the local area.”
The several responses to the petition back up the spa’s argument that restrictions to such establishments should be reconsidered.
One person who signed the petition said, under reasons for signing: “The lack of fitness and wellness facilities that can demonstrate they can open is bizarre when pubs and junk food outlets are allowed to open. Surely being healthy is positive in the fight against Covid.”