Will gay saunas be able to open after lockdown?
The second lockdown in England has in no doubt been tough for many businesses, but even more so for businesses that serve the LGBT community, like gay saunas and LGBT bars
Gay bars that don’t serve food, which is a vast majority of them, have been forced to close in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas and all businesses except “essential” shops have been closed for nearly a month during the last lockdown, due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
Gay saunas have been no exception. While some were able to reopen after the first lockdown eased, many, particularly in London never reopened.
So after this latest lockdown will gay saunas be able to open from the 2nd December?
According to sources, Spas and Saunas across England will be permitted to reopen again from the 2nd of December, provided the area which they serve doesn’t end up in Tier 3.
Rules in the devolved nations will be slightly different.
Spas in England will be in no doubt be in touch with their local Environment Health Office for the all-clear. However, it is thought that if an area is in Tier 1 or Tier 2 that gay bathhouses and saunas should be allowed to reopen, although there may be some restrictions on capacity and restrictions on some of the facilities.
Club Zeus in Mansfield told its customers, “We aren’t totally sure of the full restrictions yet, but according to officials, Saunas and Spas can re-open across the UK from December 2nd.”
Many businesses are planning to reopen come the 2nd December, but life will be far from normality until Spring of 2021 when it is hoped that a full roll-out of an anti-COVID vaccination will be made available to the UK’s population.
How gay saunas coped in the Tier system
Some saunas were able to reopen in England, however, it seemed as most gay saunas in London never actually reopened. The Number 52 sauna in Newcastle came up with an ingenious way of staying open for business, by becoming a cafe for a short period. It told it’s customers, “Our venue has been responsibly adjusted in accordance with current government guidelines. We have installed seating throughout, adapting the venue into a Cafe & Bar.
“We’ve got alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, teas, coffees and we’ll also be serving food and snacks. Take this opportunity to see Number 52 in a different way.
Do you have to wear a face mask while inside a gay sauna?
The law isn’t clear on whether you have to wear a face mask in a spa or sauna and there are health implications of wearing a mask inside hot spaces, such as a sauna or steam room.
As most bathhouses would be classed as a health spa, it would most likely be impractical to wear a face-covering during your visit, however, it’s best to follow the policy of the sauna/spa that you’re visiting.
Saunas along with bars and restaurants will be required by law to take your contact details for the government’s track and trace system. A system that allows up to 35 companies, organisations and government departments access to your contact details.
However, in line with data protection guidelines, your details must be deleted after 21 days.