Lockdown easing potential dates for the Learn To Dance school

Everyone has been eagerly awaiting details of the easing of lockdown, not least of all us for the dance school!

I’m sure by now everyone has seen the draft plan released by the UK Government and announced on Monday 22nd February.

The roadmap out of lockdown is going to run on a minimum 5 week cycle between restrictions being lifted. This will allow the results of each lockdown easing stage to be reviewed, before deciding if the next step can be safely implemented.

There will be 4 tests evaluated by the government at each stage of the lockdown easing:

  • the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

Assuming these tests can all be passed satisfactorily, in the 4 weeks following a change in step, then a week’s notice is given to confirm the next stage being implemented.

Read on to find out a summary of each stage, but especially how the lockdown easing affects the Learn To Dance school.

Step 1 (8th & 29th March)

8th March

Schools are reopening for all children and Higher Education students doing practical courses also return.

Whilst this doesn’t change anything for Learn To Dance it does mean that Creative Academy are able to hire studio space from us again. This will provide us with a bit more stability financially and so will be most welcome.

You will also be able to meet with one person, for recreation or exercise, who is not in your household or support bubble.

29th March

From 29th March we should then be able to meet up with another household, or as the ‘Rule of 6’, outdoors (including gardens).

Outdoor sports, including football at the Cherry Orchard, are permitted to resume from 29th March.

The ‘Stay at Home’ rule will cease to be in law but they still recommend staying local and working from home where possible.

At this stage holidays abroad will still not be allowed.

Therefore Step 1 unfortunately does not result in any lockdown easing for the dance school. However we will continue to provide our online streamed lessons and dance classes.

Step 2 (12th April) – Start of dance school lockdown easing

In Step 2 is when we start to see some of the lockdown easing measures for the dance school. The earliest this will take place is from 12th April and its implementation will be confirmed a week before.

Boris has confirmed that the plan for step 2 is to allow the opening of a variety of businesses:

  • non-essential retail
  • personal care such as hairdressers and nail salons
  • libraries and community centres
  • indoor gyms and leisure facilities (but only for individuals or same household)
  • outdoor attractions
  • campsites and holiday lets (without shared facilities)

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve outdoors with table service. Weddings and similar can take place with up to 15 people.

Whilst we haven’t received any detailed guidance at present the signs point to us being able to offer private lessons again in Step 2. These will continue to be for individuals or same-household and will be non-contact with our instructors.

We are taking provisional private lesson bookings at this stage, but flexibility will be maintained as the situation develops.

Step 3 (17th May) – more Lockdown Easing for Dance Schools

Should things go well than by 17th May (at the earliest) the country will enter Step 3 of the lockdown easing roadmap.

At this stage there is hope that limits on socialising with friends and family can start to be relaxed. Although gatherings outdoors in excess of 30 people will still be illegal.

Indoors the limits will be rule of 6 or 2 households at this stage. We anticipate this will be in line with the previous rule of 6.

Further business openings will be permitted at this point, including:

  • Indoor pubs and restaurants
  • Cinemas and children’s play areas
  • The rest of accommodation
  • indoor adult group sports and exercise classes
  • indoor performances and sporting events (subject to capacity limits)

Weddings and other social events will be able to host up to 30 people.

At this point the government will begin looking into social distancing and other Covid guidance that could be reduced in Step 4.

Therefore in Step 3 we expect to be able to reopen for group classes. It is likely that this will still be with the capacity limits in place from last year.

Step 4 (21st June) – return to life as we know it???

By Step 4, which will happen no earlier than 21st June, lockdown easing for the dance school could see all social contact limits removed.

Subject to the rules at the time this may mean that we can resume contact lessons and solo dancer rotating. However this would be reliant on all of our teachers having had both their jabs!

At the moment we hope that by the autumn things will start to feel a bit more normal. In fact hopefully our Bournemouth Dance Break will be able to go ahead as scheduled.

All the dates quoted by the government do come with the caveat that these are the earliest they could happen. Any failure of the tests at a particular stage could see a slowdown of the lockdown easing. There will always be at least 5 weeks between Steps.

As much as we are hoping that lockdown easing will allow us to open up the dance school, sooner rather than later, we will always take into consideration the health and safety of our staff and students.

Therefore we may elect to keep certain sessions virtual until such time as we deem it possible to welcome students back safely.

Whilst Coronavirus is likely to be always with us let us hope that this is the start of the end of restrictions. With lockdown now easing we hope to open the doors of the dance school to you all again.

Stay safe and well and we look forward to welcoming you all back again soon!