Saturday marks the beginning of a “new normal” when pubs, restaurants, cinemas, hotels, tourist attractions and campsites open their doors.
But it could be a tentative return to normal life with one in four Brits nervous about a second wave of Covid-19, according to a YouGov poll
So what measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus? Is it still safe to cut a hair, a pint or watch a movie? Our team of journalists has decided to find out …..
From wobbly fringes to disastrous hair clipper jobs, we all need a good haircut.
But the appointments will be very different from now on with limited contact with our stylists, staggered arrival times and there is no magazine in sight.
Unique Salons in East Riding gave us a taste of what customers can expect in their three premises which have already been thoroughly cleaned in preparation for Saturday’s opening.
After waiting outside their Cottingham branch in the sun, I am greeted by stylist Sharon Dalton-Windle, dressed in a visor, gown and gloves, who gives me the run-down on what to expect from the new rules.
Once inside I am taken to a chair and given a disposable suit (which is subsequently thrown into the basket) and my towel which I have to keep with me for the whole appointment.
Hairdressers separated by color and cuts are no longer there and each client will remain with the same stylist during their visit.
I will also sit in the same station all the time and when I wash my hair I will be protected from other customers by a section of perspex.
Touching the color cards is a big no-no and if you want to buy hair products they are first cleaned with a disinfectant.
It is not the same as normal, but then nothing is. But alas, I couldn’t really get my hair done because of the strict opening rule – and now I have to join the queue with everyone else. Boo!
By the time the moss well in Muswell Hill opens its doors at 8 am on Monday 6 July, punters will already have formed a line outside the door.
The JD Wetherspoon pub is one of thousands that will finally be able to welcome customers this week.
And according to the company, the release may not come early enough for pub goers who are throwing up to return to their favorite water hole.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We don’t have a license to sell alcohol here until 10, but we will open the door at 8 and I fully expect to see people waiting outside.
“Bettors have been waiting for a long time to go to their club, it’s part of normal life for many people – going back to those doors will be a big push.”
When customers return to the large public house, which is located inside a former North London tea room, they will notice the changes before they are even inside.
The front doors have been clearly marked, so there is a way to get in and out, and the tables have been spaced one meter apart the distance according to government guidelines.
There are hand sanitizer dispensers just installed on the walls and the stickers on the bar clearly indicate where customers should be.
Anyone who stays for a drink will have to do it from a table, which means that it is strictly forbidden to get up at the bar and get up to drink between the tables.
Those who choose to queue at the bar will be asked to pay by card to minimize contacts, even if cash payments will still be made.
Around the tables and in front of the bar there are plastic screens designed to stop the spread of the droplets, and the disposable paper food menus will be placed on the tables for hungry punters.
Anyone accustomed to ordering Wetherspoon food can notice a change as soon as the table is set.
“Ketchup is different,” said Gershon. “We had to switch from bottles to sachets for obvious reasons – hopefully people won’t mind too much.” When the moss well is full it can hold 550 people, but that figure will be significantly lower with the new tables set up only.
And when there is no more space, a one-in-one-out queue will be handled at the door by a staff member with a counter.
As for those who apply the rules of social distancing within, Wetherspoon is placing trust in its loyal customers to adhere to the rules and drink responsibly.
Gershon said: “The idea is to create a drinking environment in which the public will recognize and feel comfortable.
“We will not check the toilets and we will not have staff around with a meter, we have indications with very clear indications and our staff will be available to answer any questions.
“What people will find when they return to their local Wetherspoon is that the atmosphere is still fantastic and the beer is still good.
“This is what they have been waiting for and we are very excited to be able to offer that service to people again.”
The family attraction
The children have left since March and the exasperated parents have yet to face the official summer holidays.
Families around the world will breathe a sigh of relief with the news that visitor attractions should reopen their doors.
Sea Life is the favorite of the holidays and will be one of the first places to open the backup on Saturday.
The aquarium, which has 12 locations across the UK, will limit the number of guests, who must book in advance.
At Manchester Sea Life in the Trafford Center, manager Stuart Jarman said they will stick to the two-meter distance rules for safety reasons.
He said: “Normally on a busy day we would expect around 2,300 people, but when we open we will limit it to 300.
“Everyone will have to book in advance and we are staggering arrivals to 15 guests every 15 minutes to ensure the flow.”
Guests will have their temperature measured on arrival, hand sanitizer units have been placed throughout the aquarium and floor markings have been affixed to ensure that the groups keep their distance.
He said that Sea Life centers have been opened in other countries, so many of the measures they are introducing have been tried and tested.
“We can’t wait to get people back and we will continue to review things to make sure everyone is safe.
“The staff will wear face masks but we are not asking guests to do it. We will also ask people not to touch the glass and the whole place will be sprayed and cleaned on a regular basis. “
There’s nothing like a trip to the movies and Odeon’s cinemas are already booking for movies.
The company will open 10 of its locations on Saturday, including sites in Manchester, Birmingham, Epsom, Norwich, Milton Keynes, Bournemouth and Durham, with the rest to follow on a rolling schedule by July 16th.
Families fed up with Zoom meetings, virtual quizzes and infinite scrolling of the remote can finally make big screen movies like 1917, Sonic the Hedgehog and Onwards and old remastered movies like Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
There will be limited seating with unoccupied chairs between guests, staggered show times to reduce the number of foyers and renewed air conditioning to circulate fresh air.
The staff will wear visors and gloves and have been trained to regularly clean the surfaces, while spectators will be offered free disinfectant gels and wipes.
Unfortunately Pick n Mix will be a thing of the past, but Odeon has introduced a new range of prepackaged “Grab & Go” foods which includes a bottled drink, Butterkist popcorn and a bag of sweets.
Disposable menus and apps will be on the agenda when eating out.
We visited a Price branch in Bath, Somerset, to find out what the experience will be like when the restrictions are eased.
There are hand sanitizers scattered around the restaurant and you are reminded to clean your hands as soon as you arrive.
The tables are undecorated and the seasonings and cutlery have also been removed.
You can choose between two options: an app you download or “in person” which involves choosing your meal from a disposable menu.
Each table is assigned a server to reduce contact with several waiting staff and when the food arrives it will be placed on a “landing point” to minimize the areas where the staff touches the table.
When it comes to paying, you can settle your account via the app or on a contactless card device.
A distant but delicious meal: the new normal.
What we are still missing
As the country returns to normal, there are some things we will still miss.
Discos and casinos remain closed, along with bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks.
Swimming pools and water parks are also closed by law, although you can enjoy an outdoor dip in places like London’s Royal Docks, and indoor play areas for children will also need to keep the shutters closed.
In a blow to women all over the world, nail bars, beauty salons and spas are also banned to a certain extent.