Salons and gyms taking reopening date in April with a 'pinch of salt'

HQ Bristol had opened for only five months before the salon was forced to shut. Credit: ITV West Country

Businesses in the West Country have been digesting the news they will have to wait until 12 April before they can fully open again.

Restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, while hairdressers and gyms will also reopen. Holly Muckle's HQ salon in Bristol was barely open for five months before it was closed because of the pandemic. But, she said, any hope is cause for celebration.

"I think everybody was hoping it would be sooner but realistically I always had April as a date in my head," Holly told ITV West Country.

It means her self-employed hairdressers and beauticians can get back to work and she can give up the driving delivery job she took on to make some extra cash.

"It's the not knowing that gives people the anxiety and the worry and the stress," Holly added.

"So having a date that we can realistically look to is comforting.

"And it enables us, our staff and our clients to prepare for when we do reopen."

Shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality will reopen on 12 April if strict conditions are met. Credit: ITV News

Donna Ryder, who owns the Revelations Hair Studio in Ivybridge, has been trying to manage expectations just in case the reopening date gets pushed back.

"We're over the moon that'll we'll be able to go back," she said.

"All of our clients are excited and we cannot wait to see them.

"But it's not set in stone though so we have to take it with a pinch of salt because there's nothing worse than hoping and setting that date and being let down."

Some gym owners have taken their classes online during the lockdown. Credit: ITV News

Brydie & Peter Bruce swapped their Plymouth gym for their living room during lockdown to teach online fitness classes, but said reopening is vital for many of their members 

"We know how many we help that are not doing any exercise and how important face to face gym is, so to be able to tell them not too far now, looking like April so stick tight and we'll get more info to you," they said.

Lockdown has cost the owners of Luxe gym in Bristol a six-figure sum and they also said members are desperate to return.

"Of the two years open, it's probably been about eight months closed," the gym's General manager Allyn Condon told us.

"It's a real disappointment because as a company we were flying."

The region's biggest airport in Bristol has been effectively closed to all but essential flights for the best part of a year.

But following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday (22 February), holiday firms and airlines have reported a surge in bookings.

The chief executive said there's work to do on how and when passengers can return.

"The key thing is around preparation, making sure people have got the right documentation," explained Dave Lees.

"We don't know exactly what that is going to look like. Whether that be around vaccination certificates or people booking their tests before departure."

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