While most of us have managed without our favourite treatments and relaxation getaways through lockdown, we're starting to crave some R&R.
So when can massage therapists work again? After all, there’s nothing more relaxing for those who’ve spent the last few months working from make-shift desks at home, than a proper massage. While our partners and people living in our households might be able to do a half-decent job of loosening up muscle knots, it never quite compares to the professional treatment.
On July 9, more measures were announced to further lift the lockdown and help the beauty and hospitality industries return to some normality. This included swimming pools reopening again and more information provided for beauticians and business owners on when beauty salons would reopen. In the same announcement, the government revealed when spas would reopen and massages would be back on the table.
So when were massage therapists allowed reopen in the UK? And what can we expect when we walk through the door? Here’s everything you need to know…
Are massages allowed now in the UK?
Following Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s announcement on July 9, massages and other treatments not involving the face would be able to resume in England from July 13. In Scotland, the reopening date has been set for July 22, while both professionals and clients in Wales await to hear about whether they will be able to open again on July 27. This means that now, massages are once again definitely allowed in England and by the end of the month, in Scotland as well.
‘Close contact businesses’ which includes those offering massage, have been allowed to reopen again in Northern Ireland from July 6.
In the same briefing given by Oliver Dowden, it was also confirmed that tanning studios, beauty salons and tattooists would be allowed to open again for business in England – providing that there were no treatments offered involving the face. This led to many in the industry pointing out the double standard given to hairdressers and barbers, as beard trimming was allowed to go ahead.
This is expected to change in England from August 1 and all facial treatments – including those involving massage – will once again be allowed to take place.
If you fancy booking one, you can see all the best spa deals here.
When can massage therapists work again?
It was confirmed that spas and massage places could reopen from July 13 in England.
Abi Selby, Founder of Spabreaks.com is greatly relieved UK spas and massage therapy centres were given the go ahead.
She said, “Along with the wider spa industry including the UK Spa Association and British Beauty Council who have been working tirelessly to get the industry open again, I am immensely relieved to hear spas will be able to open their doors from Monday to the many people that enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spa treatments.”
Why did massage places not open earlier?
On Tuesday June 23, it was reported that Boris Johnson confirmed that hairdressers and salons could open from July 4, following Dominic Raab’s assertion that this would be the case earlier in May. However beauty salons and spas had to remain closed.
Like hairdressers and salons, places that offer massages and other spa treatments have been closed since March 23 when the UK went into lockdown.
Before that however, the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) – UK’s largest professional association for therapists – asked their members to restrict their working practices and to not provide treatments if they, or those they were treating, were at an “increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).”
There was some backlash against this, with beauty professionals arguing that their salons should open along with hairdressers.
What social distancing measures will be in place when massage therapists open again?
In a statement on their website, the FHT confirmed that at the moment, there is no sector-specific advice from the various UK government about whether therapists will be required to wear face masks or coverings.
However, they also said, ‘As most treatments offered by our members involve prolonged close contact with clients, it is likely that [the massage therapist] will need to consider wearing some type of mask that is appropriate for the treatments you are delivering.’
As salons are beginning to consider their reopening, hairdressers are having to stock up on various supplies to try and keep their businesses as safe as possible – without any specific advice from the government.
Safety measures put in place so far have included:
- Non-contact temperature checks
- Hairdressers will wear masks
- Disposable gowns and towels
- “Sneeze screens” at the front desks
- Pre-payment before arrival to limit face-to-face interaction at reception
- All food and drink banned
- Magazines removed and waiting areas prohibited
- Conversations to be kept to a minimum
So we might be able to expect similar restrictions and safety measures for massage therapists when they open again. However, we can’t be sure exactly until the governments announce more stages of lifting the lockdown to allow massages therapists to open again in the UK.
Where to find massage places near you
If as soon as the announcement was made that massages might be possible from July 13th was made, you jumped onto Google and searched for ‘massage places near me’ then you’re in luck – there are easy and quick ways to discover a local, reputable place for a massage near to where to live.
Sites like treatwell.co.uk offer search features which will point you towards massage places in your area – with appointments available on the same day and categories like “deep tissue”, “relaxing” and “Swedish massage” all available to choose from.
Alternatively, head to a spa-specific site like spaseekers.com which can filter your searches for spa breaks, deals, weekends and more. Perfect if you’re looking to get away for a few days!
Now spas are open from the middle of July, those looking to book in an appointment with massage therapists will be able to, as they come back to work following the lockdown measures being lifted even more.