Amongst all the questions regarding how the government plans to bring us out of lockdown, the biggest on our lips is when can the dance school reopen?
On Sunday 10th May 2020 Boris Johnson announced plans and a rough layout of how the UK could begin to leave lockdown.
Today the government have uploaded a more indepth report on how the next few months are going to be handled.
We have being analysing this to ascertain when they might permit the Dance School to reopen, with the safety of our teachers and students being paramount.
Obviously we are not experts, and we have summarised large areas of the report. Please take appropriate advice or read the report directly, before acting on anything we comment on.
How Do We Know When It Is Safe To Leave Lockdown?
On 16th April the government announced their 5 tests that would have to be met successfully, for the lockdown measures to start to be eased.
- Protect the NHS’s ability to cope
- See a sustained drop in the daily death rate
- Reliable data that the rate of infection is decreasing
- Be confident that access to PPE and testing will meet future demand
- Be confident that adjustments will not risk a second peak
There are three main factors that the government have said they are taking into consideration when reviewing lockdown:
- Health effect – not just through Covid-19 related deaths but also through the NHS not being able to deal with regular issues. The main aim being to ensure no second peak of the infection.
- Economic effect – how to get people back working, safely, as quick as possible. Also to ensure that the public finances are able to be maintained.
- Social effect – not missing too much education. The effect on people’s mental well-being from extended isolation. Getting people back to a sense of normality.
We are now entering Phase Two of the government’s response to the Coronavirus. This looks at ways of controlling the infection so that businesses, including Learn To Dance, and schools can reopen.
How Can We Control The Infection?
The government have said that Phase Two is about using smarter controls to make social contact less infectious.
Obviously to allow the Learn To Dance school to reopen we need to ensure that all of our teachers and students can visit the studio safely.
The ways that the government are currently looking to help social contact be less infectious are:
- making contact safer by redesigning spaces to reduce infection by contact
- reducing infected people’s contact by better tracing and monitoring of those infected
- stopping hotspots developing by detecting outbreaks effectively
For a ballroom dance school to reopen, where contact is inherent within the activity, we need the infection risk to be as low as possible.
We will be keeping an eye on the government’s guidelines as they are released to ensure that our return is as safe as possible.
So When Is The Dance School Likely To Reopen?
As many of you are probably already aware the government announced on Sunday 10th May a number of stages to lifting the lockdown.
- Step One (from Wed 13th May)
- The opening of outdoor spaces, where the risk of infection is lower.
- The allowance of travelling further to exercise, but still maintaining social distance
- Returning to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, but staying home where possible
- If returning to work avoid using public transport where possible
- Unlimited external exercise now allowed, but still maintaining social distance
- Step Two (no earlier than 1st June)
- Schools reopen for the youngest children, in phases
- Non-essential retail to reopen in phases
- Cultural and sporting events behind closed doors for broadcast
- Increase in public transport available
- Step Three (no earlier than 4th July)
- Places of worship, hospitality and leisure facilities to reopen
- To be phased in and monitored to ensure no significant increase in infection.
The government have made it clear that businesses such as our Dance School are not permitted to reopen during Steps One or Two.
We do not yet know whether there will be the opportunity to provide non-contact private lessons during Step Two. However we may consider opening up the studio to hire for practice time if the rules allow.
What Can I Do Whilst I Wait For The Dance School To Reopen?
So at the moment the only way we can continue to provide dance lessons is via our online dance lessons.
If you haven’t checked them out we have been recording and releasing videos since the start of April. We’ve tried to provide lessons that can be learnt and practised in confined spaces.
Releasing four videos a week is proving to be a mammoth task, especially with two little ones. But we wanted to hopefully be able to provide an option for everybody, regardless of their situation.
Our online lessons include:
We know it’s no substitute for the classes, lessons and social events that you enjoy attending. But hopefully these will help you get through this difficult time.
How Are We Doing?
As many of you will know we completed on the sale of our house the week lockdown began.
Since then we’ve been imposing on Emma’s parents down near Bristol, and the home office and daily exercise options aren’t too shabby!
This has also helped us to keep our personal expenses down to a manageable level whilst we wait for the Dance School to reopen.
We have been confirmed as eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and hopefully will be receiving the payment by the end of next week.
Whether the government will extend the scheme for those of us not permitted to carry out our normal business remains to be seen but we have our fingers crossed.
Our landlord for the Cherry Orchard has allowed us to defer our rent until the Dance School is permitted to reopen. This has certainly helped with some of our budgeting short term, although we haven’t discussed the repayment plan yet!
The business grants that were initially announced back in March would have covered a large portion of our rent for this closed period. Unfortunately we were not eligible due to an exemption on the Cherry Orchard site.
We have raised a query on this with South Bucks council, and are waiting to hear back from them. There has been another scheme announced that may help to catch those of us who slipped through the gaps of this much-needed support.
All things considered, we’re fit and healthy and the Dance School will survive. Whether we’ll all be dancing in facemasks for the forseeable future remains to be seen!
We hope you’re all keeping safe and well and we look forward to seeing you in Step Three and beyond.